Homemade blueberry muffins, fresh fruit, guttural Hebrew consonants, passionate prayers, and an a cappella rendition of the “Doxology” were among the sights, smells, and sounds that welcomed new students to the first ever day of Master of Divinity classes at The Bible Seminary (TBS).
Heidi Arneson, chair-elect of the seminary board of directors, rejoiced as she welcomed Karen Coolidge, her friend and one of the first new students, to the Sept. 4 inaugural class. And everyone rejoiced as day one of classes began just like day one of dreaming about the seminary – with prayer.
Seminary president and senior pastor of Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church Dr. Jim Leggett reminded the group of representative TBS board members, faculty, staff, students, friends, and family that this venture is not the planting of a little bush, but the rooting of a massive oak tree called The Bible Seminary. He also reminded everyone of the big dreams he believes God has ahead for TBS.
“At our first dinner gathering to lay the foundation for The Bible Seminary, we cast the vision of reaching a million souls for Christ because of the exponential kingdom math that works in the ministry of a seminary,” Leggett says. “We dreamed that over the next 100 years, The Bible Seminary will train 5,000 students for ministry. If each of those students reached 200 people for Christ, then that is 1 million souls impacted for Christ.”
After giving TBS family and friends a chance to share testimonies of pivotal remembrances throughout the process of establishing the seminary, Arneson, Leggett, and executive vice-president/provost Dr. Lynn Lewis each prayed, thanking God and asking that He receive much glory from the work accomplished at and through TBS.
After the opening prayers and dedication, the group sang the “Doxology.” Shortly thereafter, professor Paul Helbig kicked off the first Master of Divinity class, a graduate-level course entitled Bible Study Methods I – Mark, Ruth, and Esther.
In the second class of the day, Dr. Linda Pattillo introduced the inaugural students to gutturals, quiescents, and vowel classes in Hebrew Language I – Jonah. Shortly before noon, TBS student Kevin Penner exclaimed enthusiastically, while delivering a high-five to fellow student Matt Larsen, “I just finished my first day of seminary!”
By the end of the week, these 13 pioneering Master of Divinity students – of varying denominational backgrounds, ages 22 to 56, male and female, of original nationalities ranging from American to Nigerian to Venezuelan – will have engaged in two additional courses, Spiritual Formation and Ministry I – Exodus and Missions I – Genesis, Nahum. And along with all of the TBS their professors, support staff, board members, and hundreds of faithful donors, they will have truly made history.
To learn more, visit www.thebibleseminary.org.