Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to ask for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward save knowing that we do thy will. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. -Ignatius Loyola
I needed to read the above prayer today.
On Sunday, I learned that my desired denomination requires its pastors to attend its seminary. Two options became available. I could either transfer to the denomination’s seminary or finish at my current school and then take another year of classes through them. The first option could be done as a distance learner with several trips to their campus for intensive study. The second option must be done as a resident student. Since the second choice is not practical, I need to seriously consider a transfer.
Monday, after more research, I discover that the seminary I currently attend is not accredited with the Association of Theological Seminaries. The denomination requires all pastors receive an MDiv or similar degree from an ATS accredited school. I immediately sent an email to the new seminary to see if the credits would transfer.
I must admit, I went through a range of emotions as I processed this information. Up to this point, I thought I was attending an accredited school. The accreditation that the school boasts, however, is a denominational accreditation and not a universal accreditation.
I was also surprised to learn the seminary requirement for my chosen denomination. I was frustrated at the thought of having to transfer to a school, which requires on campus work. I was angry because I spent two years taking uncredited courses. I was grieving the potential loss of two years and doubted my calling.
What was God telling me?
I wondered if I was called to go to seminary or pastor in this particular denomination or to plant a church. I am ashamed to admit my emotional roller coaster as I tried to process the information.
I sent out a few prayer requests. One request went to my current instructor, who responded immediately, allowed me to vent, and acknowledged my frustration. I was then able to concentrate on my studies for the day. I picked up my book and the first thing I read was a hymn written by Martin Luther.
From trouble deep I cry to thee, Lord God, hear thou my crying; Thy gracious ear, oh, turn to me, Open it to my sighing. For if thou mean’st to look upon The wrong and evil that is done, Who, Lord, can stand before thee?
I am still waiting to hear if my credits will transfer, but my Spirit is calm knowing God is ultimately in control. I do not have a clear vision of His plan for me. I just know that I need to be obedient and trust in him because……
Who, Lord, can stand before thee?