- Indianapolis, IN
I'm a student in the distributed learning MDiv program at Luther Seminary. My home congregation is Christ Lutheran in Zionsville, and for candidacy I also participate at First Trinity on the eastside of Indy. I also see my company as another ministry setting, where I develop relationships with all sorts of different people.
Things were a lot easier before seminary. I still work full time, take classes, and try to remain active in the congregation. It's a stretch. But, seminary changes you in infinite ways, and it's impacted how I relate to people in ways I could never have expected.
What brings you joy in your ministry?
It excites me to share insights with people that they had never thought of before. When I preach, and someone tells me about something I said that has stuck with them, amazes me and gives me joy. I find that generosity is also a really central part of who God has made me to be. I learn so much by being generous, and one way I minister to others is in encouraging their own generosity as a liberating experience.
Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?
My pastor, Steve Albertin, for his amazing theological groundedness. Dr. Steven Paulson from Luther Seminary, who continues to help me discover the depth of my passion for law and gospel theology, and the Augustana. Pastor Nancy Nyland, our synod's DEM, for giving me a clear sense of mission. Pastor Jeff Iacobazzi, for his sense of justice and the mystery of God. And people. People always remind me of my call when I discover how I've ministered to someone without even realizing it.
What are your interests outside of ministry?
Ha! Seminary has a habit of wiping those out! Once upon a time, it was music, movies, trivia, games, programming, motorcycles (once upon a time I thought I was reinventing myself as a biker, but that didn't really fit me).
Best meal you've ever eaten?
Bread and wine every Sunday! duh!
A good 2nd favorite would be shellfish (I could never be kosher). Anything Italian or Chinese/Thai/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese. And breakfast any time of day!
I grew up in northwest Indiana, and graduated from Valparaiso University in computer engineering. I've been a software engineer ever since, and I manage a team of engineers at exacq Technologies. I used to do a lot of musical stuff (singing, trombone) before entering candidacy. When I first joined my congregation, my pastor had started giving me lots of things to read, and getting me to go to conferences, and I don't think he knew what he was unleashing… :)
Heck, to be honest, I didn't know what God was unleashing either!
Did you always want to be clergy?
Yes, absolutely. Growing up, my family didn't go to church, and in high school I got connected to a Baptist youth group. One summer at camp, the youth pastor asked me if I'd ever thought about seminary. Which of course I hadn't. I wouldn't say that I was much of a disciple then, so it was kind of a left field thing.
When I was an undergraduate, I started to gain a sense of call, and started thinking I might go on to seminary, but it kind of faded away.
In my 30s I was quite the atheist for a number of years. But, somehow, by virtue of the company I kept, I found myself back in the church. I assisted in worship and did a lot of music, and thought that was it. Changing congregations brought me into relationship with a pastor who started engaging my faith, and one thing led to another.
The thing is that I'd forgotten hearing my call. As I began candidacy and seminary, I found myself remembering those early thoughts of seminary for the first time in decades. So, no, it's nothing new. More like the lost coin. :)