It’s one thing to choose your next step. It’s completely different when it is chosen for you. The narrative changes drastically when God chooses your next step, and asks you to be obedient. I had no plans to begin a seminary education. While preparing to graduate from my alma mater, I imagined entering the classroom as a teacher for the following year. Then God made it clear, in God’s own way, that I would be in a classroom, but I wouldn’t be teaching. I would be learning.
God made it clear that I was being called to PTS. In many ways, God was saying to me what God said to Abram: if you do this for Me, then I will do this for you. I did not understand why God would ask me to go somewhere I did not want to be. My “this” promise was not as detailed as the promises in Genesis 12. In fact, it wasn’t detailed at all! Nevertheless, I wanted to be obedient even if I was unfit spiritually, mentally, and academically. In many ways, I knew before coming to PTS that I would not be the best seminarian. When I arrived here for my first semester, my worst fears manifested themselves within the first month, and I prepared myself to tell my loved ones that I was dropping out, before October 1st.
I entered this space as a follower, following the Holy Spirit’s Call. Now, I am leaving as a leader, ready to lead others to Christ.
That’s when God sent specific students, faculty, and staff down my dark corridor to light candles along the way. Because of them, I was convinced that this was the place where I should be. What was of more importance was the realization that this was the place where I should stay. In the second semester of my first year, I applied to transfer from the MA track to the MDiv program. As I prepare to graduate in the spring of 2017, I can say that I embrace the seminary’s way of training followers how to lead. I entered this space as a follower, following the Holy Spirit’s Call. Now, I am leaving as a leader, ready to lead others to Christ.
By embracing the rigor, and even enduring failures, PTS has taught me to accept what I doubted within myself for so long: that God wants to use those who don’t feel useful.
By embracing the rigor, and even enduring failures, PTS has taught me to accept what I doubted within myself for so long: that God wants to use those who don’t feel useful. I may have missed that revelation if I had chosen to begin my career as a teacher. I would not have met members of this community who have been influential in my identity formation. I like the way PTS brings people together, even if for a short while, to ultimately fulfill the missio Dei. As you consider PTS as your next step, know that it will challenge you to become who you are supposed to be, despite who you want to be. If you are willing to accept opportunities that will not be presented anywhere else, and experience God in unfathomable ways, then you absolutely want to become a member of the PTS community.
—Darius Fowlkes, MDiv ’17