Last week the 2007 Palmer Theological Seminary graduates received their diplomas. Because I teach required courses many of the graduates were my students when they came in for their freshman year. After three years (if they went to seminary full-time, or five to seven years if they went part-time), they have graduated.
They came to seminary because somehow in their hearts and minds they received the call from God to become a minister. Some of them came to seminary straight from college; some were on their second or third career. Some were medical doctors, some were lawyers, some were teachers, and some were nurses. Some were successful entrepreneurs and some had high level positions in government. Some of them were recently converted; some avoided the call for many decades. It was the call that was of paramount importance.
Looking at them graduate I remembered some of their first reactions when they received my syllabus for Church History I. Some have started to pray immediately thinking that they were already doomed. Some struggled because for some Church History is almost like a foreign language. Some were glad to take this course for they saw its value for their future studies. Some in the later weeks had their eureka moment when things suddenly came together. Some were great students and I as their teacher learned from them as much as they learned from me.
And now they are receiving their diplomas, declaring that their training is finished. Some have already found a place of employment in a church, a missionary organization, military or hospital chaplaincy. Some are praying hard to find a place, especially if they have a family who most likely has to move when they receive a position.
I look to them and I am proud for them. They are great students. Some of them have received awards for how well they have done in my classes and other classes. They will do well in their calling. They will bring glory to God as they serve God's people. And I am glad that God has enabled me to have a small part in their preparation.