Princeton Seminary | All in God’s Time

All in God’s Time

Brandon Bradley Meta

Brandon Bradley’s ministry journey began at the tender age of five years old when he first joined his church’s dance ministry. Today, he’s harnessing these creative roots as he cultivates his own unique voice in the Master of Divinity program at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Resisting the Call

Like many “PKs” (pastor’s kids), Bradley grew up in the church and was raised in a family where several members received and heeded a call to preach. He joined his church’s dance ministry at age five, and it seemed he would follow in their footsteps. “By the time I was 16 years old, I knew I was called to preach,” he says. “But I ran from it.”

Instead, Bradley embarked on a career in the aviation industry. When that didn't work out, he stepped into the nonprofit world. He accepted a position at Feeding the People Ministry, bringing fresh and non-perishable food to low-income households in the New Jersey communities of Trenton and Camden, and raised money through fundraising walks and other endeavors. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything changed. “It took the world stopping for me to really see myself and evaluate how my life was going,” he says. “I could finally see what was required of me to reach the goals I’d been praying for, and part of that was saying yes to ministry.”

Bradley wasted no time researching seminaries. Not only did his church’s ordination process require an MDiv degree, but he valued the opportunity for a formal education. “I believe when you know the Bible and the history deeply, you can speak more firmly and powerfully on scripture,” he says. He knew several people who graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and spoke highly of it. “But I’ll admit I was intimidated by the Princeton name,” he says. “I took a moment to pray on it and I said, God, I need you to show me where I need to be.” Over and over, he felt pulled to Princeton Seminary. He took a chance, applying just to Princeton Seminary and nowhere else, and anxiously waited for a decision. Two weeks later, he was accepted.

On the Path at Princeton Seminary

As a second-year MDiv student, Bradley has developed a strong interest in multi-ethnic theology. “I believe that learning about theology from the perspective of different races and groups, and being able to identify where differences and connections exist, will help me be a better pastor, especially when working in a congregation or educational setting where there are people from all walks of life,” he says. “It’s important that we speak to everyone in a way that God would want us to speak to them.”

Outside the classroom, Bradley is the vice moderator for the Association of Black Seminarians (ABS), responsible for coordinating logistics for events and services and acting as a liaison to other student groups. He also works for the Seminary’s admissions department, hosting campus and virtual tours and taking pictures for social media.

Bradley is currently gaining pastoral experience at the Greater Mount Zion AME Church in Trenton, New Jersey, where he leads youth and men’s ministry efforts. This gives him an opportunity to practice ministry, and access to what he sees as a valuable tool to attract people back to church, whether they took a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic or temporarily left the area for college. “Our goal is to build a ministry so the youth and young adults in our community feel comfortable not only going to church but also sharing their gifts and having the worship experiences they desire,” he says. That’s why his ministry is focused on sharing positive and fun experiences, like going to the beach, bowling, visiting amusement parks, and more.

In addition to all of this, Bradley works as a financial advisor, focused on educating the Black and Brown community and serving the church community. “When I started saying yes to ministry and applying to Seminary, I prayed that God would provide me with a job that would mesh well with ministry,” he says. “So many churches are struggling financially, and many pastors are full-time pastors without nine-to-five jobs—this is how they pay their bills. I want to help as many pastors as possible so they’re not struggling to make ends meet when they retire.”

Focusing on the Present

While it can be easy to stress about post-graduation plans, Bradley is heeding the wisdom of his favorite scripture, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. “This scripture tells us to lead a peaceful life and mind the business God has given us; it’s about putting your whole faith in God that every business he gives us grows, so when people see what we have accomplished with God on our side, they know by the truth of our business and not by gossip or rumors,” he says. “I don’t know what to expect after graduation. I know I’ll be ordained, but I don’t know if I will pastor in a church immediately after ordination. And I’m not in a rush. I’m enjoying the process of what I’m doing right now, and everything I’m learning right now prepares me so that when that day comes, I’ll be ready.”

Another thing he knows for sure is that he’ll use the lessons he learned way back when he was a young child, dancing in his church. “I wouldn't be the minister I am if it wasn’t for that experience at Allen Liturgical Dance Ministry,” he says. “Dance ministry taught me that I don’t need to copy anyone else or be like anyone else. My goal at PTS is to find my pastoral voice and use that voice effectively when God says it is my time to pastor a church.”

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Senior Pastor, Asbury United Methodist Church, Atlantic City, NJ

Latasha Milton, Class of 2018

“My passion is doing what I can to empower and liberate people who are hurting. PTS has made me a better person and pastor because it’s given me the tools to better serve the oppressed and marginalized.”