“For a while I had talked about doing something with the desire in my heart. I found that some in my church had successfully used Berean Studies to prepare for ministry. I jumped into it, but as hard as I tried and as much as I wanted, I could not seem to get past the first class. Again and again, I tried, thinking that “finally now I will defeat this lack of momentum” or, “maybe with the frustration of failure to fuel me, to rally me to action”….but the results were not successful.
And how dismaying that was! I had thought that I was committed to the Lord, but was I really? I truly wanted to be preparing myself to be a useful tool for the Lord…but my actual results showed something completely different. This had some real negative ramifications for me as I tried to look toward a future that satisfied the burning desire inside. I reasoned that there was no value in considering any other venue. I concluded that if I could not overcome a single course via Berean, there was no way that i could be successful using any other means known to me.
Then my pastor mentioned an alternative to Berean, this MnSOM program was n
ow coming to our area. I allowed myself to enroll, hesitantly. Almost immediately, I enjoyed enthusiasm and renewed energy! I succeeded in passing the first class, and even enjoyed it. My view of the future remained cautious, but after a few classes were under my belt, I began to see myself differently. My hopes returned and goals resurfaced.
Along with that, the additional focus required to complete my coursework caused me to block out many non-productive activities, and stay quite focused on my studies and the Word. The pace of overall learning and growing dramatically improved. It seems so easy to have rapid growth when the reading and stories keep “firing” again and again in rapid succession.
My friends began to notice a marked change in my confidence and my knowledge of Scripture. My memory has always been a serious problem for me and so the transition to knowing the stories (vs passage memorization) helped me to overcome this mental block. Finally, I was able to identify parallels in the words of Christ, to see resounding themes strategically put in different ways for His various audiences and settings!
What kind of light am I if I do not “know” the truth? How can I defend a true biblical worldview if I am not confident in my understanding of the Holy Bible? And why should I be excited about a young independent denomination in the world, when the Holy Word of God is almost 2000 years old? These are questions answered in taking classes….questions that others might be asking as well.
I would love to have access to MnSOM at all times as a pastor. I will consider it for my staff and promote it to my boards. My own investment has been minimal, which may have been necessary in my beaten mentality, but my return has been enormous. I thank the Lord for MnSOM because I am no longer defined by limited abilities or the failures of prior attempts! My family, peers, fellow congregation see me living with priority on the Word of God and on learning, as well as putting my faith in His Word and in His provision. I will continue to encourage others to consider this wonderful opportunity…. to grow in Him, as they never could grow on their own.” Kent Vandegrift – MNSOM Student