As Helen prepares to share next week how we celebrated Mexican independence day I thought I'd take the opportunity to update you all on my post-graduate studies. I can't believe a decade has passed since I sat down to begin my degree at Moorlands College. I had a wonderful three years there and learnt so much about God, ministry and myself. Since graduating I always said I would like to study some more and although I have done bits a pieces in-between, I have been praying for a few years about which course to enrol in.
Asbury Theological Seminary outside of Lexington, Kentucky has a long and strong working relationship with OMS, it also has a very good reputation in the Christian academic world as being a leading seminary, with some of the world's most influential scholars teaching there. I was extremely blessed and encouraged that after the second time of applying I have been provisionally accepted on to the Doctor of Ministry degree, which I'll begin in the summer of 2016 with a full scholarship. The Dmin programme has different cohorts that begin twice a year with different specialisations, I have still not made the final decision on my specialisation but by next summer will have that clearly defined. I will travel to the USA a couple of times a year to complete some residential requirements, but the rest of the course will be online study, researching and writing, finishing of course with a thesis.
So why provisional and why now?
Provisional because ATS have asked that I gain some more experience studying at Masters level this year and complete some more credit hours before beginning my doctorate. Therefore I leave for the USA on Wednesday and although I have some other things to do while I'm there (like meetings at the OMS world headquarters, a visit to a church and an opportunity to see my brother Nick), I will spend the majority of my time beginning to take some courses on the Masters of Intercultural studies degree, which I will engage with this year. That gives ATS and Helen & I an opportunity to really test whether or not being a student again is the right thing for now.
So why now? Well as God continues to enlarge and grow the areas I am responsible for I feel getting more teaching and equipping is essential for going forward. I have been teaching more at our seminary in Mexico, which I still have overall leadership responsibility for. Teaching theology to adults is an area of ministry I am really enjoying and if I'm going to grow in this area of seeing others get equipped for ministry, post-graduate study is essential.
So please join me in praying, especially for Helen and the kids as I hit the road for a couple of weeks. I look forward to sharing more as I go along in my studies, please pray for a clear mind, and discipline to not allow studying to take over my time. Please also join me in praying for financial provision this year. Although I have a full scholarship for my doctorate, I only have a part scholarship this year.
The church in Mexico is really beginning to grow and it's so important we equip new leaders and pastors to care for and teach sound biblical theology and doctrine to this new growing and developing church. I count it a privilege to have the opportunity to be equipped for this vital task.