What an amazing letter to receive!
To my friends and family.
Jennifer and I, and our girls have finally accepted God’s call to enter full-time ministry. To some of you this may be a shock, to others the reaction might be “Well duh, it’s about time Jason.” You see for the last several years I have had the calling to become a pastor, a preacher, or whatever you call the person that stands in front of your church and delivers the message. I wrestled with that calling, telling myself it wasn’t real, or I wasn’t ready. I’ve struggled with discerning God’s call in my life. I’ve struggled with the signs he has given me. My weaknesses got in my way. Roadblocks were in front of me, placed there by the world and by my decisions. Three months ago, almost to the day, events started to transpire to both clear my path and to make my path clear to me.
I will go into those events in more detail in future blog posts on my website oldguyseminarian.org, but one of the biggest roadblocks was my education, or more accurately, my lack of education. To be a pastor, you should have higher education. It isn’t a strict requirement, there are lots of pastors that don’t have this, but it is highly recommended. I have never had a day of college. No Bachelor’s. No undergraduate work of any kind. It was a pretty big hurdle to overcome. I had never thought attending seminary was possible.
Just eight weeks ago I had a conversation with a young man, a seminary student himself, and a friend. Evan Guse revealed to me that Asbury Theological Seminary (asburyseminary.edu) granted, though rarely, a “No Bachelor” exemption to attend their world renowned seminary. Evan said it was setup for “old guys like you!” (hence the name of this website.. thanks Evan!) There were strict guidelines and prerequisites in place that had to be met to even apply for this special exemption. I won’t bore you with all of the details in this post (I assure you I will in future ones), but I had to score very well on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), as well as write several graduate school level essays.
Thanks to the power of our Lord I scored extremely well on the GRE. I scored better than 87% of every graduate school applicant that has taken the exam in fact! That certainly didn’t come from me, I boast in the Lord for that score. I just was going to take the test to see how poorly I would do with zero prep work to have a baseline to work from! Asbury also found my essays and application satisfactory and as evidenced by the above letter they have accepted me into their Masters of Divinity program starting this fall.
That’s right.. without a day of college I get to go to graduate school and work on a Master’s degree!
How’s that for evidence of the power of our God?!?!
Asbury Theological Seminary is located on a beautiful campus in Wilmore Kentucky, but don’t worry I have no plans to move there (yet). Two-thirds of my degree will be completed on-line with the remaining one-third completed via “intensive” classes that will require travel to the Wilmore campus in the months of January and June.
This is going to be a lot of work. I’m told the class load is intense. We will need to lean on our family and friends for support in this calling. My current plans are to continue in my job for the first semester of school then approach the United Methodist Church for a student pastor appointment within driving distance from our new home. This is also going to be a grand adventure, I hope that you will “follow” my blog and keep track of our progress here at oldguyseminarian.org. Be sure to leave a reply below as you are lead.
Thank you to everyone that has poked, prodded, and pushed me along this path. I wouldn’t be here without your love and support.
And thanks to our Lord for being a loving God, for being a God that always keeps his promises, for being a God that sent his Son to die on a cross for our sins.
In humble service to Christ,
Jason A. Hyer
Director of Mission and Outreach
Sandy Hook United Methodist Church
Student – Asbury Theological Seminary