When I came to salvation in 2010, a whole new world was opened to me, and I realized two things. First, I wanted to share this amazing message as far and wide as I could. Second, I had no idea how or even where to start. I grew up atheistic and removed from church, so it was all unfamiliar territory. Not only were many of the theological concepts brand new to me, even the vernacular that lifelong church members used seem foreign to me. 

Pursuing Bible studies both on my own and through church groups, I started to learn more. I even started leading a few studies, but I felt like my words just mimicked what I had been told by others. I lacked the confidence to plan my own lessons. I was convinced I would say something wrong or mislead the audience. Even though I felt God had called me to share His truth, I felt completely unequipped for the task. 

After a very discouraging first year in ministry, a fellow church worker recommended I check out Stark College & Seminary. I started classes the very next semester. For the second time, it was like a new world was opened up before me. My professors showed me how to go beyond rote memorization and move into the art of biblical interpretation.They taught me the process of understanding the historical context of a passage or book, understanding the underlying truth God wants to convey to His people, and how to build a bridge between the people it was written to and the people receiving it now. 

Since that first semester at Stark, my role in ministry has evolved from leading a bible study of a few college students to helping pastor the church and preaching to the congregation. There have been some stumbles in the process, but by God’s grace, many more successes. As my responsibilities in Kingdom work have grown, so has my desire to learn more. I am no longer afraid to dig into the Word of God and share my findings with others, because Stark has taught me to think critically, study discerningly, and communicate truth effectively. I feel called to serve in pastoral ministry, and as I move forward in this great adventure, I am grateful for how Stark has prepared me for this call. 

 

This article was written by Allen Harris. He is the associate pastor of North Bay Fellowship Church in Ingleside, Texas and is pursuing his Master of Arts in Ministry degree at SCS.