Acceptance

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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

An introduction…

First let me get something out of the way.

I am not a narcissistic person. I do not begin to suppose that I have a depth of knowledge, wisdom, or insight that you the reader can garner a wealth of information from. I have begun this blog for a few different reasons, and self-aggrandizing is not one of them.

One of the reasons I have started this blog is to track my writing proficiency as I progress through the graduate school experience of seminary.  Hopefully, as I hone my skills with the pen (figuratively speaking of course) that will come through in these blog posts.  After all, I have not had an English or grammar class in 25 years.

Secondly, I want to document and share my witness of the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.  My story… my witness… is a real testament to the power of faith and the power of our God.  I boast not in myself, but in the Lord.  Let these posts, words, articles, and insights all forever lift His name first.

Third I want to keep forever in evidence the ways my partner in this life, my loving wife Jennifer, supports my calling as an individual, as a couple, and as a family.  I have not always included her in everything I do, just as in my life I have done with God.  But just like my relationship with God, when I have included her, it always leads to greater success and blessings.  She is sharing in this journey with me.  She is sacrificing with me, for me, and for our God.  She can be my greatest champion.  I am forever grateful to God for putting her in my life… even in the challenging trials of being in a relationship for over 27 years.

Fourth, I want to share my experiences going through seminary as a late bloomer… as an “old guy”.  I’m not the oldest to go through seminary by far, but I am certainly not a young man.  My prayer is that I get through this four-year process, and these pages can serve as encouragement to other older men and women that are considering seminary and a life of pastoral ministry.  My hope is that these pages don’t serve to scare anyone off from seminary or ministry if it all goes off course and ends in disaster.

And lastly, I look forward to your support and encouragement along the way.  Be sure to leave a comment or two.  Let’s have discussions about the issues that will come up.  Let me know your experiences and your opinions in the comments below.

May you have a wonderfully blessed day.

In humble service to Christ.

– Jason