As the 2016-2017 school year draws to a close, we’re proud of all our students’ hard work. But we’re especially proud of our graduates who have persevered through multiple years of full-time work and study. This year we celebrate the achievements of four graduates: three from the Master of Divinity program, and one from the Master of Theology program.
Making it through years of study while supporting a family, and often, working a full-time job is no small feat. Two of this year’s graduates even served as full-time pastors while in seminary – gaining valuable ministry experience – but considerably prolonging their time in school.
Mike Hixson, Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship at Grace Church of Mentor in Mentor, OH, is completing an MDiv after 8 years of study – and he plans to take his wife and kids on a nice vacation to celebrate the accomplishment. As he reflects on his time in seminary he says,
“Many days I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned in my classes and immediately share that truth to the souls in my ministry. I’ve really appreciated the attention to the precision and the unity of their instruction. DBTS has done an excellent job in crafting a curriculum that really helps the student see the big picture of the Bible and the centrality of the local church.”
He also makes sure to credit his family’s contribution, “They have sacrificed greatly as I have worked on my M.Div., and I can’t count the number of times where Kelley took our three daughters so I could study. My graduation is just as much their achievement as it is mine.”
Ryan Meyer, who is graduating with his MDiv, will be pursuing a PhD in Biblical
Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, while continuing to serve at DBTS as an administrative assistant. While in seminary, he served at Inter-City Baptist Church in various capacities, including kids’ ministry, senior living services, Bible studies with unbelievers, and pulpit supply in area churches. His long-term goal after finishing his PhD is to teach in a seminary.
Ryan especially wants to thank the faculty for their investment in his life, “They are the seminary’s greatest asset. Because of the small student to faculty ratio, I was able to spend a good deal of time asking questions and getting advice. It was encouraging to know that professors knew you well, were praying for you, and were interested in your areas of ministry.”
Joe Miller, an MDiv graduate will be continuing to serve in his local church, Evangel Baptist Church, and appreciates the equipping that seminary education has given him to be an active layman in the church. Although a DBTS’s primary focus has always been equipping church leaders, many men and women have taken classes and even completed degrees simply to better serve their local churches in a lay capacity.
To those considering attending seminary, Mike advises students to expect a challenge, “The call to ministry is the call to prepare.” That phrase isn’t original to me, but it is the truth. The academic rigor of DBTS is meant to prepare men for ministry, in part so that they will be accustomed to working hard when they enter ministry… If you do feel that the Lord is leading you toward ministry, then He’s leading you to be a prepared, Biblically-competent minister. And that takes a lot of work!”