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Opportunity and Impact:

How you can relationally support your seminary student

Kendra Diehl

Please permit me to begin with a personal story: When I felt the nudge toward seminary it was not only an internal Holy Spirit nudge, but a nudge from others too. Pastors and leaders kept encouraging, investing, and challenging me with opportunities to grow, lead, teach, preach and minister in a variety of meaningful ways. I recognized the internal nudge, but they offered the external confirmation that helped light the way, signifying it was time for our family to take the seminary plunge. The year was 2002. Rob and I had three school age children and a dog named Willy. Our family of five soon had four members with perpetual homework.

Sadly, mine is an infrequent story, and many are hoping mine will become their story too. Who are you encouraging, challenging and equipping for ministry? We each have an opportunity to be part of another’s call to serve and lead.

Often the nudge of God comes through those closest to us.

The story continues: The encouragement, support and challenge grew from a few leaders to a praying community when my senior pastor requested that I serve as a pastoral intern in my church. The board agreed and I quickly realized that the journey to and through seminary is richest when a community of family, friends and church offer continuous support, challenge and encouragement.

There is a role each of us can play in the life of one called to a seminary education. Here are a few that blessed my socks off:

  • Prayer –The faithful intercessors in our church reminded me of their fervent prayers every week. Prayer is main stage in heaven even when done in private.

  • Cards and texts – Encouragement comes in many forms, and this simple form of communication often came when I needed it most. With today’s technology it’s easier to do than ever.

  • Finances – My church supported me with a modest internship salary. MI works hard to keep tuition low while providing excellent academic, pastoral, leadership and spiritual training. Still, tuition can cause financial strain on your student. You can help carry the load.

  • Constructive connection – Some of the best opportunities for growth came through the loving, constructive comments and encouragement from my church and friends. You don’t have to have a seminary degree to cheer a seminarian on to love and good deed, you just need to be available.

  • Growing together – It was fun to share what I was learning with others. Ask your seminarian what they’ve learned as they study and what the Lord is teaching them through their classes.

There are no words to express my gratitude to the community at Vision of Glory Lutheran Church for the many ways they supported my family and me through the seminary adventure. You can do it too.

Who do you have in your sphere of relationships that is being called to lead and serve in Christ’s Church? Make a difference - the encouragement, challenge, prayer and financial support you share will impact the world. And impacting the world with the love and life of Jesus is what it is all about!