Sorry it’s been so long since posting anything. It’s been a little more hectic the past few weeks for some reason.
Anyways, I thought I’d write a little bit about why I’ve decided to go ahead and pursue an M.A. degree from Luther Seminary.
- Desire. Since my junior year in college I have planned on going to seminary someday.
- Timing. Since my wife Alicia is currently a medical student, she is studying constantly. No joke. If she home and awake, she is studying. Since she is busy studying, I don’t want to do things that bug her, so I usually read. So far this year, I have completed 35 books. I might as well apply that time towards a degree.
- Flexibility. I don’t want to be a full-time student right now, so I need a degree program that will allow me to work at Hope and complete the degree program. There are no decent part-time M.Div. programs out there, so I am left to get an M.A. right now. Luther has a 4-year distance education program to obtain an M.A. in Youth and Family Ministry. It takes 18 courses, half of which are completed online. The other half are completed on-campus in St. Paul, MN during one- or two-week intensive courses.
- Diversity. From what I can tell, there are really only two degree programs worth my time that fit my need to be a part-time student: Huntington College and Luther Seminary. I went to college at an evangelical university and thought that a mainline seminary experience might be a good change of pace (Huntington is an evangelical school). And, it seems like the Huntington degree is drinking more of the YouthSpecialites Kool-Aid. I love YouthSpecialties and what they do (and are trying to do) for youth ministry, but youth ministry has grown very homogeneous as a result of the YS influence. Luther seems to be going a different direction. Some diversity would be good.
- Current context. I’m at a Lutheran church right now (and hope to be for a while), so I might learn some nuances of ministry in the ELCA while being at Luther. However, I don’t plan on being a Lutheran my whole life. Who knows, one day I might be a Presbyterian (there is hope, Dr. C).
- Faculty. This is the real kicker for me. There are two main professors that drew me to Luther: Rollie Martinson and Andrew Root. Martinson is a youth ministry stalwart. He’s been doing this stuff for about twice as long as I’ve been alive. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the implications of the Exemplary Youth Ministry study, a project directed by Martinson. I just hope he doesn’t retire before I get a chance to have a few classes with him. Andrew Root is new to the scene, but boy is he making an entrance. His first book, Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry, just came out, and it is weighty. It could really change the way we do and think about youth ministry. Everything I’ve read by Root has been pure gold. He’s probably the first of a crop of new youth ministry professors that will come over the next few years. These two guys are the real reasons I want to go to Luther.
I know it seems a little more than coincidental that I’m going to a Lutheran Seminary while working at a Lutheran church. But honestly, I really think I’d be pursuing this degree from this seminary no matter what church I was working at. I really think they offer the best experience for me right now.
My first class in in January (cold!) with Andrew Root. I’m pretty stoked.