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  • Writer's pictureBarrett

Prepared and Thankful

(I wrote this post for the monthly Hebron newsletter, and figured I'd share it here as well.)

In January 2015, I went into Doug’s office with an idea that would change my life. What if I went to seminary to get a Masters in Theological Studies to help me be a better worship leader? Doug had a better idea. He thought an MDiv would serve everyone better (there’s a 40 credit difference in those two degrees). I figured he was right, and so we started to look for schools.

The first one I applied to would have required me to move to St. Louis within a year. But then we found Reformed Theological Seminary-Orlando and their brand-new Hybrid MDiv. This program would allow me to continue leading worship at Hebron while working on my studies. Session approved of a plan to invest in my education, and we were on our way.

On August 10, 2015 I walked to my in-laws’ neighborhood pool in Vero Beach, Florida, excited to begin my first class, Introduction to Pastoral and Theological Studies. I would listen intently to Dr. James Anderson’s lectures on the 5 Solas and the 5 Points of Calvinism, while taking notes. That may have been the most useful class I’ve had, as it helped me understand better what I’d been hearing from the pulpit for 35 years.

For the next 4.5 years, I would put my kids to bed at 8:00 pm and go sit in my rocking chair in our bedroom and read, listen, and take notes. I studied the Bible, biblical languages, systematic theology, church history, and practical theology over these years.

At least twice a year, I’d leave church on a certain Sunday in January and July, get on the same 4:30ish Southwest flight and head to Orlando to see my classmates for a week. We’d sit through lectures, and hammer the professors with questions from 9 to 9, and then go relax around a fire with some beverages. I’ve made some great friends from around the world because of this program.

On February 18, 2020, I spent the day at our kitchen table writing. At about 10:00 pm I had finished writing and editing my final research paper. I hit the “send” button, and that was it. No more lectures and forced readin

g. I was done with my MDiv work.

What we thought was instruction to be a better worship leader has morphed into preparation to lead a church. There’s no way in 2015 I would have ever thought that this is the reason why I was going to seminary, but it is clear. The Lord has been preparing me for this next phase all my life.

Thank you for all the encouragement. Thank you for the finances to help me get this degree. Thank you for putting up with my sometimes inappropriate use of what I’ve been learning. Thank you for being willing to implement some of my newly acquired ideas into worship.

(By the way, I haven't gotten my Gospel & Race grades back yet, so the credits haven't been credited yet. But I've done the whole 106 credits)

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