I started at Stark College & Seminary in 1999 pursuing a Certificate of Ministry and Lay Leadership. Twenty years later, I find myself finishing a Diploma of Ministry and on my way to pursue a master’s degree and eventually a doctoral degree. Throughout my studies, this college has remained a constant in my life and has been the most valuable asset for me and my ministry.

When I first started taking classes at SCS, I had no idea how far I would go with my education. I was young and had recently surrendered to the call of vocational ministry. I knew that God had called me to be a pastor, but I did not yet know what was in store for me. My first milestone was attending Stark College & Seminary in 1999. The college had only 2 full-time staff members and each class had only a handful of students in attendance. The growth of SCS over the years is undeniable and a testimony of God at work.

SCS has  been a vital part of my ministry development. This college feels more like a family than an institution. The professors show a great amount of compassion and dedication to their jobs as educators. An education here is more than just an education. It is a support system. I know that when times get tough, all I need to do is send out an email, and prayer warriors are standing by. If ever I have a question about something happening in my own congregation, I know professors who will lend me practical advice which enhances my seminary training.

In addition to the incredible staff and faculty, the student body is also a strong community. As I have progressed through the diploma program, I find people along the way just like me: serving in a ministry position and pursuing a theological education while also working and having a family. It is such an encouragement to share experiences with others and walk away knowing that I am not the only one facing certain challenges. Stark is much more than just a college. This college has been my sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life and gives me the opportunity to slow down once a week and grow spiritually.

Words alone cannot express what this college means to me. It has been a spiritual journey that has been quite a learning experience. The depth of teaching is invaluable, and the practical experience that I’ve gained makes this college a place I call home. I look forward to the rest of my educational journey with everyone here at Stark.

Randy Spitzer is a bi-vocational minister who serves as the pastor of Caribbean Baptist Church in Flour Bluff and works as the full-charge bookkeeper for Rockport Tours in Corpus Christi. He is a devoted husband to his wife of twenty years, Tara, and is a loving father to his two wonderful daughters, Hannah and Baylee.