More than 40 Texas Wesley Alumni are currently in full-time ministry or preparing for full-time ministry. This includes local church pastors, missionaries, Christian counselors, and seminary professors. Here are the stories of a few of our alumni who are attending seminary.
About 6 months after graduating from UT, I took a job working as the Alumni & Development Coordinator at the University of Arkansas Wesley Foundation in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My time at Texas Wesley was so transformative, I wanted to continue to make an impact in college ministry. Shortly after moving to Fayetteville, I started going to counseling regularly. It didn't take long for me to realize that my favorite part about my job was not in my job description. My favorite part was connecting with the college students, building relationships with them, and acting as a mentor. It was a combination of these two things that led me to believe God wanted me to pursue a career in counseling.
I am attending Seminary of the Southwest, an Episcopal seminary, just blocks from the University of Texas, and getting my MA in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. This program incorporates theological courses to equip me to include spirituality into my counseling practice.
While I am still discerning what my path will look like as a counselor, I am excited to use these gifts to bring healing to the church and the broader community.
I grew up in the United Methodist Church. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I had many opportunities to lead in the church. I was able to preach, serve communion, and teach Bible studies. When I got to college and joined the Texas Wesley, those opportunities only expanded.
I loved leading Freshman Girls Bible Study my senior year. I was able to extend that ministry to all freshmen the next year when I served as an intern at the Texas Wesley. Through these experiences at the Texas Wesley, I realized I felt a calling to some type of full-time ministry. I loved mentoring, loving, pouring into, and encouraging other students and wanted to continue doing that in my future career.
So, a year ago, I started pursuing my Master of Divinity at Duke Divinity School. I chose Duke because it has a great combination of academic rigor and practical training for ministry, and this seemed important to me. This has held mostly true, and I have learned so much at Duke about how to read and interpret the Bible, how to learn from both positive and negative experiences in church history, how to read and understand Biblical Hebrew, and more. I was excited to return in the fall and continue growing in my theological knowledge and practical ministry skills.
When I finish seminary, I plan to be ordained in the United Methodist Church. I hope to work in a church that reaches out to those who have been excluded or burned by the church. I am very passionate about integrating social justice into my ministry. The Texas Wesley has been an integral part of me reaching this point in my life. I learned so much at the Wesley that I am incorporating into my current internship at a United Methodist Church, and that I will be able to incorporate into my future ministry. The Wesley was (and still is) a huge part of me accepting my call to ministry and growing into the leader that I am today.
When I was in high school, I felt God calling me to full-time ministry but I did not think it was right for me. I wanted to be a lawyer and judge. After attending the University of Texas for a while, I began to realize that being a lawyer and going to law school did not sound as exciting as it had. Thankfully, I had my community at the Texas Wesley that supported me and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. One way in which I was encouraged to step out was by going on our mission trip to South Padre Island over Spring Break. I was petrified to share my faith with other people, but I also knew that God would guide me through my conversations and interactions. The mission trip, called Beach Reach, was challenging at times but it became the place where I heard my call to ministry and where I trusted God with my future.
I am very thankful for the ways in which the Texas Wesley has impacted my life and how God used it as an instrument to reach me. I am in my first year at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia and I am loving every minute of it. While I believe God is calling me to be a pastor in the local church, I have been reminded of my love of academics and am exploring ways to pursue educational opportunities beyond seminary. I am excited to see the road ahead and the journey God has prepared for me!
This fall I will be heading to Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia (right outside of Atlanta) for their Master of Arts in Practical Theology program. I chose this program for numerous reasons, one being that I really want to learn and develop my understanding of God further through study. As a history major, I struggled in undergrad because my studies didn't seem to equip me with practical steps to understand people, myself, God, and how we can be better humans to each other. Since I first took Religious Studies classes at UT, I felt a sense of longing to learn and collaborate with others who were also interested in deepening their faith. The Texas Wesley was a beloved community where I established life-long friendships and delved into understanding more about who I am as a person. Seminary was the obvious next step for me to grow and learn how to truly love others without barriers or judgement.
I could enter many different roles after seminary. I don't feel called to a specific job or vocation. I don't feel I am called to be a pastor, but I've always felt called to youth ministry, so I'll see where that takes me. My desire is for churches to build communities of radical welcome and acceptance, and I intend to grow and learn from others. I'm excited for seminary because Columbia is oriented towards justice, celebration and recognition of diversity, and true welcome. I spent a year in a volunteer program in Atlanta. I made many connections with Columbia alumni and church friends, so I'm thrilled to continue growing those relationships. Texas will always be my home, but I'm so thrilled to head back to Georgia for a few years!
The Texas Wesley was very formative in my call to ministry. I was involved in leadership at the Wesley after graduation as an intern at the Texas Wesley. It was at this time God placed it in my heart that ministry was not only a fun college community, but a call on my life.
I began the discernment process at the Wesley then continued it as an intern at Bethany United Methodist Church in Austin. I joined the CYMT (Center for Youth Ministry Training) Program in Fall of 2016. This program has given me a new community of faith. What a privilege it is to walk alongside someone and grow, learn, question and just have the Gospel radically transform them through the Holy Spirit.
In conjunction with this program, I am also earning a Master’s Degree in Youth Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. This program partners you with a church as a graduate resident. You get to put into practice what you are learning in the classroom. I will graduate in May of 2019.
I believe God is calling me to offer our youth an alternative to the current culture that is so easy for our youth to adopt. I want to offer them the message of Jesus Christ.