After a successful intensive in January, I had a few weeks to finish up coursework and prepare for my spring semester to start in February. My preaching course continued into the spring. As part of the class, I wrote and preached two sermons at my church.
Research, study, writing, and presenting in public are some of the great loves of my life. So, weekly sermon creation and preaching is something that I greatly look forward to in my future life as a pastor. It is a humbling and crucial work that I take very seriously as I consider the magnitude of the responsibility to preach God’s Word to people.
Overall, my spring semester was full of helpful courses. In addition to preaching, I took congregational care, Greek exegesis of Mark, and a course on leading change and conflict in the church. As has been the case throughout seminary, the Holy Spirit worked through each class creating and showing me connections between what I learned.
As I reflect on this, I can see that my first year of seminary was focused on what I would call foundational theological study. While my Bible courses did give us practical weekly exercises, my focus on taking theology and Bible courses for the first year meant that I was missing out on a lot of practical knowledge. This year has really remedied that, and I ended up being glad that I took things in the order I did. My practical training in CPE during the summer of 2016 was my first experience with that side of pastoral theology, and the classes I took this year helped me to reflect on what I learned in CPE and gave me ways to apply it to my future ministry.