August is a month of contrasts at the seminary.

On the one hand, classrooms are quiet and professors are preparing for classes and working on writing projects. It is a scene of peaceful calm before classes begin again.

On the other hand, the admissions office is busy working with new students on scheduling classes, financial aid, getting books and other last minute details. Maintenance crews are working to get the campus ready for everyone to arrive.

This year, we will welcome students back to campus on September 8th for New Student Orientation. This is an exciting event every year for new students and their families. Many have been thinking about starting seminary for months, if not years.

We want new students to feel welcomed into the GRTS community, and we’ve designed Orientation to do just that. We begin with worship and a devotional where we reflect together on the nature of study and worship and how we glorify God in our studies. Students spend time meeting others and building new friendships, and we finish the day with an evening of food and fellowship for new and returning students. It’s our way of starting the school year together.


We see other contrasts as the summer countdown to seminary comes to an end.

Some students have clear and specific career goals in mind; others just have a gut sense of calling without clarity on exactly what God has for them. Some students are fresh out of college and pursuing their first career; others join us to pursue a second career after years of serving in another field.

I love the diversity that is GRTS, and I love the stories God is writing through each student.

Each year, I have the privilege of hearing many students share their stories of how God has worked in their lives to bring them to this place. I’m amazed every time I look out at the beginning of the school year and see a room full of these students ready to begin classes. The collective potential of these people to impact the world for the Kingdom is truly profound.

… new college graduates who feel called to pastoral ministry.
… a health care worker seeking to become a chaplain.
… a youth pastor eager to learn more about the Bible.
… an international student here to study and return home to equip their national church.

God has a diversity of calling and a diversity of people who respond to His call, and you get to see it firsthand at seminary.

As we get ready for a new semester, I am excited to think about the students who will be in class next month. They have hopes and dreams placed in their hearts by God himself, and He will use their journey in seminary to make those dreams a reality. As professors prayerfully develop courses, class readings and lectures, these are moments to reflect on the wisdom of God and the importance of learning.

In just a few weeks we begin again, and the countdown to the new semester will be finished. Whether you are currently at GRTS preparing for classes or considering seminary for the first time, what are you looking forward to about the new semester? How are you preparing for class?