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Life Together: Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

March 9, 2017

The WSC family believes that community and fellowship is an integral and necessary part of seminary. This community brings to heart what is being studied in the classrooms as our students, spouses, families, faculty and staff care, grow, and pray with and for one another as we live Life Together.

by alumni Justin DeBerry & Drew Hoekema

Coming to seminary is intimidating.  In fact, probably better to say jarring.  You thought you knew some theology but now realize you don’t.  You thought you were called to the ministry but halfway through semester one you’re not so sure anymore.  You had deep-rooted friendships, but now you have all new faces giving you the same deer-in-the-headlights look you’re giving them.  All of that makes the need for real community critical.  Like toddlers learning to walk, we eventually got our footing with our classmates and professors.  These are men and women we greatly respect and learned from in profound ways.  Within the broader WSC community was our class, and within our most excellent class was an even smaller group.  The few friends that upon getting to know them we said (via C.S. Lewis), “What! You too?  I thought I was the only one.”  And while that kind of friendship has continued with numerous brothers and sisters post-graduation, four of us have very intentionally kept a close communion.  There is a healthy unity and diversity among our group.  We’re diverse in geography (hailing from Montana, Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan), personality (we won’t attempt any adjectives here), and in our churches (PCA, CRC, ARBCA, NAB).  Such diversity is great because it keeps us from group-think inside our own tiny tribal echo-chamber.  It also makes the witness of our unity all the more beautiful. It is our love for Christ, his gospel, and his church that forms the thickest thread holding us together.  Not to mention the central tenets of the Reformed faith.  

"It is our love for Christ, his gospel, and his church that forms the thickest thread holding us together.  Not to mention the central tenets of the Reformed faith."

One of the fun things about having gone to Westminster together is that our theological foundation is shared capital.  So much shared history and theology at WSC makes our bi-monthly conversations really refreshing.  We NEVER talk about funny things that happened in class (sarcasm), but we do get the privilege of sharing life and ministry together in the trenches. While we’re currently meeting digitally every couple of months, the plan is to meet in person for times of fellowship and renewal during our years in ministry.  We’ve been taught well that one of the great dangers of pastoral ministry is isolation.  With each of us serving our churches for a little over a year now, we already feel it.  Our encouragement to those coming through WSC in our wake is to be intentional in forming friendships. Don’t wake up in Prophetical Books and realize you’ve haven’t reached out to anyone in three years.  Both with professors and students, the relationships you forge in seminary will often be the life-preservers you need in the choppy seas of ministry.  Thanks be to God that he not only gives us his Spirit to comfort and guide, he does more—he gives us each other.