I have just returned from Asbury Seminary where I participated in the December graduation ceremonies. I have not graduated from anything in 26 years (1981 from Seminary). I was at Asbury to celebrate the completion of my Doctor of Ministry degree.
I have to admit I never intended to pursue additional degrees when I finished seminary in 1981 and, when I did sign up to begin the D.Min. program at Asbury I was not convinced I would be able to do the academic work necessary to complete the degree (let alone design, perform and then write the dissertation). But I found the work challenging, interesting and stretching. To be honest, this was a good thing for me as I had gotten a little complacent in my personal growth over the last ten years.
One of the lessons of life, if I could be so bold as to suggest, is that we must commit ourselves to never stop growing. There is too much to learn, too much to know, too many places to visit, too many people to meet and way to much to experience to allow ourselves permission to just sit back and coast. I went back to school because I WAS coasting and needed a new challenge. For those of you who might be feeling like you are just going through the motions -- it may be time to take on a new challenge. And for all of my colleagues in ministry my suggestion is this: never stop learning, never stop growing.
December is an odd time to graduate. But my wife, older sister and my parents were able to journey with me and join in the celebration. I was truly blessed to have them with me.
For the record: I did not trip over my robes, the funny square hat stayed firmly in place and I managed to walk across a stage, shake a couple of hands, smile for the camera and not fall on my face in the process. The downside is I won't be making a guest appearance on AFV.