Princeton Seminary | A Passion for Sharing God With Others
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A Passion for Sharing God With Others

Jamie Neal News Image

For Jamie Neal, MDiv ‘26, preparedness is what led her to Princeton Theological Seminary. While the Houma, Louisiana native is still discerning where God is leading her, the goal is to be ready when God says move.

“I believe having a master of divinity is a good broad foundation for preparing myself in various ministerial aspects,” she says. “So, if God calls me to do something other than what I'm thinking, there's still a foundation that is across the board that I can build from instead of being in a place where I'm completely just unaware of how to even proceed.”

Plenty of prayer and discernment is what led Neal, who grew up in an Assemblies of God (USA) church, to Princeton Seminary, specifically. She was also seeking a school environment that would be open to diverse faiths, religions, and backgrounds, she says. To her, an environment as such is most effective for people seeking full-time ministry because individuals can get a sense of a vast number of experiences and insights. “I was intentionally looking for a more diverse community to better prepare myself because ministry is a people business,” she says. “So, to better minister to others, I felt that Princeton Seminary was one of the highest schools that offered that sort of environment.”

This call to minister to others wasn’t always evident. Neal admits that as a young person, she didn’t have many goals outside of continuing the family tradition of serving her country through the military. For eight years, Neal served in the United States Marine Corps. Then, she realized that accomplishment was her vision for her life, not God’s. “I realized that God's will has to be meant for my life, not my will for my life,” she recalls. “That's when I got this growing love for God, more than before. I started desiring to be in situations where I could share the love of Christ with other people and that was my daily goal from that point. It wasn't about me; it was about God and that's when I started getting that call to ministry.”

The pull to ministry is what led Neal to pursue an undergraduate degree in theological studies at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas. After exiting the military, she began a church internship at Crystal Coast Assemblies of God in Pelletier, North Carolina. The experience allowed her to be involved in worship leading, youth pastoring, and prayer coordination.

Neal’s time at Princeton Seminary thus far has been eye-opening and challenging thanks to two courses that she considers her favorites. In Life Together: Commandments and Community, she learned how the commandments are read in context and how they are implemented in today’s society. In Minister and Spiritual Diagnosis, various questions about ministry are raised and analyzed. “It's really deep questions and it's self-diagnosing,” says Neal, who is a licensed minister and is on track for ordination. “It's preparing the minister to reflect on yourself before you try to counsel and diagnose other individuals who are looking for hope and help.

“I believe having a master of divinity is a good broad foundation for preparing myself in various ministerial aspects”

Since arriving on campus, one of the highlights has been the professors’ authenticity. Another impressionable aspect has been the capacity of students in both community and communication, which have been beneficial. “You can't escape critical thinking discussions in this community, which I think is great because it forces one to really think about the material that we're discussing and sections of Scripture that we're discussing or wrestling with. You're forced to not only just look at it from your own view, but to consider and to wrestle with the views of others.”

The greater school environment is a bright spot, as well. “This community loves one another to no extent, the love for one another and the love for neighbors,” Neal says. “It’s overwhelming love sometimes because I've never actually seen people have so much consideration for one another that are from completely different backgrounds.”

Neal’s future plans include leveraging her background to serve as a military chaplain. After 12 years in the role, she may consider pursuing being a theology professor at a seminary. Her proclivity to teach stems from a passion for sharing the Bible and the attributes and characteristics of God with others.

“I'm a Pentecostal and I would like to be in that Pentecostal realm of teaching and publishing, to kind of have a voice in our community,” she says. “I have a passion for sharing God with individuals who are either still confused, struggling with, wrestling with, needing clarity or guidance on some things. I think passion has a lot to do with it because if you don't have passion, students feel that, and they don't retain what is there.”

To Neal, who credits her undergraduate program with planting the desire to become a theologian, not expressing this passion would be a waste, especially at a time when there are many confused individuals in society, she says.

“To me, [sharing God is] critical because there are so many individuals who are not following God,” she says. “If you ask people on the street if you consider yourself a Christian they might say yes, but that statement is such an empty and void statement. It's Christian as a label. It's not Christianity as a true belief and follower of Christ. I have a passion to help individuals at least recognize what they truly believe and not label themselves as something that they're not.”

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Youth Minister at Busbridge and Hambledon Church, Surrey, U.K.

Antonin Ficatier, Class of 2016

“What I like about working in an international church is that I’m always reminded that I’m a foreigner, that the land is not mine and I’m just a passenger on this journey.”