I was already serving as a pastor of a small non-denominational congregation. I had done a fair amount of informal, advanced study on my own. I realized I needed to pursue formal, rigorous education to improve my ability to serve as pastor. I wanted to study the biblical languages and a wide array of other classes so I could improve my ability to study, interpret, and teach God’s Word, and shepherd the flock under my care. Without formal training, my ability as a leader and shepherd were going to be limited, and my flock would suffer as a result.  

From my very first class, I knew I had made the right decision to enroll at RTS. My first class was Genesis-Joshua and the depth of reading, discussion, homework, and papers challenged, encouraged, and equipped me to study and teach God’s Word at a depth I did not possess beforehand.  

Two of the most beneficial and practical results from my time at seminary were learning the biblical languages and an increased appreciation for and use of the book of Psalms in my personal life and my ministry. Learning the biblical languages opened a world of tools, and helped me to love, understand, teach, and apply God’s Word at a level I could have only dreamed of before! 

I also learned to love and use the book of Psalms as never before. Dr. Futato’s class gave me a love for the Psalms and helped me to regularly use the Psalms in my prayer life, and to teach our congregation to do the same.  Many people in our congregation have commented how much comfort and strength they have found as the Psalms gave them language to cry out to God in their times of confusion and distress.  

Before I enrolled at RTS, I was an effective leader and teacher, with a good knowledge of Scripture. As a graduate of the US Naval Academy and prior Marine, I had learned a lot about leadership, but RTS helped me think through how leadership works in the context of a local church and certainly improved my ability to lead as a Pastor. Furthermore, although I had done a lot of personal studies, RTS gave me skills and tools I never possessed before. I can honestly say that I use things I learned at RTS every single day of ministry, and the gift of learning biblical languages has enabled me to continue growing in my knowledge and teaching of God’s Word. 

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