As a transfer student, what attracted you to an education at the NALS?
I started my seminary journey at Luther Seminary, St Paul, Minnesota (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). I thought the NALS would be a good fit for growth as I started the candidacy process with the North American Lutheran Church.
While I grew and learned a lot at Luther, I also knew that I wanted to make sure I was taking courses that would support a biblically-grounded interpretation of theology and ministry to best serve my future congregation. Along with the NALS’ theological stances, I was drawn in by the warmness and encouragement of people who I knew were attached to the seminary.
When I reached out to the NALS to see if transferring would be a realistic option for me, I was impressed also with their flexibility in finding options for me to make sure I could still graduate in a similar time frame to what I had initially planned. Having the option to do independent studies guided by NALS professors was such a privilege and allowed me to meet my graduation requirements on time, even being a transfer student.
What did you find most valuable during your time at the NALS?
I’ve taken a blend of online and in-person courses during and prior to being at the NALS, and I have to say that, for me, having some of the core classes, like preaching, offered in-person is a big advantage.
Another wonderful asset at the NALS and Trinity School for Ministry (TSM) is the presence of a Christian community grounded in daily worship. As a Lutheran transfer student who would only be at the seminary for a year, I did not know what to expect in terms of the ability to build connections with professors and other students, but I was pleased to find that the NALS and TSM have active practices in place for building community, like weekly small groups (called Leadership Formation Groups), daily chapel services led by students and weekly Lutheran compline services. Each of these were encouragements and grounding points for the week.
What would you say to others considering an education at the NALS?
For those that are considering seminary or furthering your theological education, my prayers are with you! It is an exciting journey, and the church continues to need faithful leaders. I would encourage you to be very selective in your choice of a seminary; it is not only an investment in yourself, but an investment in the congregations that God calls you to serve. Seminary education can look many different and unexpected ways in 2020 and this is especially true amid the coronavirus pandemic, but most essentially, seminary education must be grounded on scripture and centered on Jesus Christ. It is important to be somewhere that you can trust the teaching to challenge you, but also to be supportive of your theological convictions.
In my experience, the NALS offers a well-rounded seminary education, where courses are not only informed by scripture but rooted in it, and Christ is at the center of teaching and learning. If you reach out to people connected to the NALS I think you too will find them to be a warm, inviting and supportive community!