As I approached the end of my undergraduate experience, I was faced with two realities: my degree hadn’t set me up for a job, and my heart was really in “ministry.” So I moved to my school’s seminary, where I was promptly miserable. I learned a lot from my year with that school (primarily, a music degree does not prepare you to write academic papers), however I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being prepared to lead churches that only existed in the Bible Belt of the 1950s.
Then I had the opportunity to take an internship with a church in Atlanta, Georgia, and continue to take classes by making occassional pilgrimages to campus. This allowed me to do two things that I could not in when you live and breath academia: being deeply involved in the life of a local church, and deeply committed to relationships with non-Christians. Now this is sad, because I love the classroom, it’s a place where I come alive. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that none of what I was learning had any meaning if I left it relegated to an ivory tower.
So I’ve tried to integrate the seminary into my life. This has been difficult. It’s taken me years to get to the point I am at, and I am a ways from finishing. It’s also been a lonely task. That’s why I’m grateful I found the MAGL.
Fuller Seminary’s Master’s of Arts of Global Leadership has provided a practical way to continue my education in the manner that I feel is best. The program is based on doing everything in a cohort, made up of like minded practioners from around the world. Our course work covers issues like Adult Education, Globalism, Missiology and Self Understanding. All of these are viewed through the lense of helping us develop as leaders, and apply them to our local churches.
The cohort program also offers something that I was unable to find in my previous experiences, a sense of academic and missional cameraderie that my other experiences had lacked. Through the MAGL, I have been reunited with a childhood friend, met a local youth pastor, made friends with missionaries to China, heard first hand accounts of the civil unrest in Liberia and stories of life in undeveloped corners Senegal. As diverse as are cohort is, we find things to laugh and pray about everyday.
But most important, the MAGL has forced us to rethink what God’s really up to in this world. Knowing people scattered across the globe, and wrestling together with them through these issues has a way of making God bigger, and my struggles and pet issues much, much smaller.
That is very difficult. But I’m thankful for it.