That’s how my bargain with God started. I told Him that my pastors would have to tell me so, I wouldn’t uproot my family and I wouldn’t quit my job. Basically, it wasn’t happening.
And then the Institute of Lutheran Theology happened, and my pastors recommended I go for it. Once again, God wins!
That was over three years ago. Now, five terms (plus one summer term) later, I am more than halfway done with my Master of Divinity degree through ILT. It’s been a crazy ride; sometimes frantic, other times stressful, occasionally frustrating, but always enlightening.
I’ve been immersed in philosophy, from Plato to Nietzsche to Barth. I’ve studied all things Lutheran, from Luther to the confessions to Lutheran worship. I’ve had practical ministry training, including two preaching classes that have been the most valuable classes I’ve taken so far. I’ve even endured Greek! Most importantly, I’ve taken many classes on the Bible that covered much of the Old and New Testaments (my class on Paul and his letters is still my favorite ILT class).
The process has made me a better minister of the gospel. Much of what I have learned has filtered into my work as the Director of Youth and Family Ministries at Faith Lutheran (because, after all, what teen doesn’t want to learn about Immanuel Kant!?). My preaching has improved as I’ve learned more about the focus and purpose of preaching and received guidance in developing my style and voice. I think that is what I appreciate the most about the ILT format; that I can be learning head-scratching philosophical concepts from the Enlightenment or diving deep into Greek translation difficulties and their implications while still staying grounded in the everyday messiness, demands and joys of ministry.
It works, thanks to the support of my wife and kids, the camaraderie of my classmates, and the encouragement of my congregation. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to study at a school like ILT, and thank all of you who support this awesome endeavor!
To learn more about ILT, click here.
Written by Dave Wollan, former Director of Youth and Family Ministry, and now a pastor at Faith Lutheran. Check out Dave’s ministry (and sports) blog at wollcott.wordpress.com.