Karen Pettit, MAT Student
Jesus told his
disciples to count the cost before beginning to build a tower in order to
ensure that they would have everything they needed to finish the job. (Luke
14:28-30) I’m sure many who are reading
this are doing just that when it comes to taking the first steps to entering
seminary. “Will I be able to commit the necessary time to my studies? Do I have
the funds to pay for it? Am I absolutely sure that God wants me to do this?”
are all valid and essential questions to ask ourselves before taking this momentous
While lots of personal reflection is
necessary, I have to thank my friend and mentor, Fr. Chip Nix, for giving me
the best advice. I had been tossing around the idea of seminary for quite some
time, feeling overwhelmed by the whole idea, when he said with a big smile and
booming voice, “Just get started! Just sign up for a class at Fuller!”
I am forever grateful to Fr. Chip for those
words. They put everything into a new perspective, one so much more simple and
direct than I had thought of before. And so I began, and now I find myself,
quite by surprise, in my last year of studies.
My first two classes were on-line courses.
Since I had been out of school for quite some time, the structure helped me get
back into the routine of regular study, reading, and interaction with my
professor and fellow students. It was quite remarkable for me to have internet
discussions with other Fuller students who lived all over the globe. Each would
bring their particular experiences to our learning. Most importantly, I found
out that I was a capable student.
For the most part, though, I have taken my
courses at the Fuller Texas campus. Each class has been structured to
provide ease of access for working students of all varieties…those working full
or part-time in churches across the city, those hoping to work in ministry
someday, and others who just want to learn all they can about God and His Word.
The deep friendships I have enjoyed have been a true blessing. The depth of
knowledge and experience of our professors amaze me each time I sit under their
teaching, and I thank God that He has directed my feet in this direction.
My most recent classes, however, have been
IDL, or independent learning classes. With this format, all classwork is
distributed at the beginning of the 10-week period, and you’re on your own to
complete it. This demands responsible and continued diligence on the part of
the student so that one keeps up with the course. But, it also provides time
for creativity in your learning. For example, my classes, “Intro to Islam” and “Christian
Apologetics” have worked together to encourage me to begin a weekly dialogue
with a Muslim friend who owns a local Mediterranean restaurant. After several
weeks of friendly conversations over hot tea, he set up an appointment for me
to visit with the imam of our community’s mosque. The friendships I have begun with him and
other local Muslims have been a source of delight to me, allowing me to think
deeply about my Christian beliefs and giving me an appreciation of theirs.
Perhaps it’s your time to experience the
diverse and rich education that Fuller offers. Why wait any longer? Go ahead, just get started!