Post College - Time to Grow up

I made a visit to Moody Bible Institute today in Chicago. I'm praying about applying for their graduate school program...we'll see.

The "real world" is quickly approaching. I've been in school my entire life. It's the only culture I really know, and I've gotten pretty good at the "school" routine. Listen, take notes, study, apply, test, repeat. It's pretty well defined.
  • Preschool lasted 2 years.
  • Elementary school: 4 years.
  • Intermediate school lasted 3 years.
  • Junior High (in Pekin) was a 2 year school.
  • High School was 4 years.
  • Undergraduate also lasted 4 years.
So what about the real world? No 4-year term? All of a sudden the model has changed ... and I want to make sure that I'm still making goals, still growing, still learning, still moving forward.

At work, each of us has been asked to put together a "Personal Growth Plan." We're identifying specific goals for spiritual, financial, familial (is that a word?), vocational, ministerial, physical, and intellectual growth. My friend Bill says that In order for God to do great things through us, we must first allow him to do great things in us. I think I'm ready to be stretched into this real-world thing.

Here are some verses on this topic that really spoke to my heart this week:

"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection ..." Hebrews 6:1

"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ..." Ephesians 4:14-15

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize..." 1 Corinthians 9:24

"Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly." 1 Timothy 4:7

"Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16

It's obvious to me that Jesus had a strategy for surviving the "real world". He made sure he was spending time with His father. I intend on following His example.

How about you? Friends out there who have already graduated -- any tips for those of us preparing to make the transition?


Anonymous said...

hey jake - - its cool your looking at grad school especially an advance ministry degree. i grad last year and am thinking of doing the same here in the near future... as for doing it right now, 1.)pray 2.) ask mom & dad 3.) ask spiritual mentors 4.) think of where you want to be down the road like in 5 years or 10 years does grad school help or hurt that 5.) family, when will you start one

you may also consider other schools, moody has a great and well known under grad but there grad school is only a few years old and does not have as strong of a repuatation as other programs and their own undergrad - though being downtown chi town would be cool, i wont lie i have prayed about moody but am also considering other place (gordon conwell, dts, coventant and regant) i think i may start with just doing a distant learning program

do you want a m.div? or another masters? some are 2 years so it would not be as long most m.divs can be done in 3

also i have really had to examine my motives - - there is no seminary in the bible it was guys pouring into guys (2 tim 2:2, i think), i have to ask myself do i want a degree for knowlede, to get a "church job", to hang a degree on the wall - if god wants me to lead the heathiest ministry posible does he care if i have a degree? or does he want to see me being diligent with what he has given me? or is grad school what he is giving me know? how much of a m.div could i teach myself or have others help?

all i can say is don't rush, dont feel like you have to do it now, pray, pray, pray

are there other ways to get what you want besides a degree? are those ways better? does god need you in a desk for the next 3 years? does he need you in the secular work place? does he need you in a church or other ministry? does he need you to raise support and go off to the unreached world? where does he need jake? reality is he does not need any of us, we know that. we also know that in the old testament that god told pep to do stuff, speak on his behalf, and what was said fell on deaf ears - what we in our human thinking would consider a waste? does god want you to grow? does god want you to wait? does god want to you to do something that is not on the radar?

not that you should do what i think would be cool -- - - but - - -- music (which god has gifted you richly) is one of the most sucessful ways to get into a non reached people group - - think jake what has god given you, where is he taking you, do you need seminary to get there? would grad school be an added plus?

tough cause there is no right answer, but as long as your number 1 thing is christ, does it even matter what you do?

i know i can get in the busyness of ministering so often i loose sight of my realationship with god - keep the main thing the main thing and 10 years from now you will have experienced what you were meant to experience and you will know why


Anonymous said...

oh yeah, if its an easy desison maybe its not the right one - - like you said your self " I think I'm ready to be stretched into this real-world thing."

god grows us the most i believe when he is streaching us the most - is grad school a strech, or the next step? a streach or something you want?

reality - - if it is what god wants, satan is not going to make it easy you will have to be stretch

i had the chance to go to thai land after the tsunumi, i did not, i was to intimidated it would have streached me beyond what i wanted - - 20/20 hindsight i missed out i was scared to go to the other side of the world and get out of my comfort level

would moody stretch you?

and for others reading besides jake.... are you being streached or are you comfy? is god working in your comfort? are you allowing god to push you off the edge and pick you up for the better...

am i nuts?

rj said...

Go to IHOP with phil!!! haha just kidding... but seriously. Good luck with all your plans man... I'll be praying for you.

jdb said...

Well ... It's clear that I'm blessed with friends who are much wiser than I. Thanks for sharpening me. Here's some more thoughts ...

I've been praying about how God might use me for some time now, and I've discovered three heart-felt passions ...

1) Reach lost teens with the life-changing Gospel of Christ
2) Unify the Church (capital "C")
3) Lead God's people into worship, through music

These are the passions and the gifts that God has given me ... I like how you acknowledged that God doesn't NEED us to accomplish his work, but I'm honored and prepared to be used as His servant.

Anonymous, I'm not sure who you are -- so you may already know this: I'll begin passion #1 immediately after graduation ... serving with Youth for Christ full-time here in Peoria, where our mission is to reach lost kids with the gospel. As for passion #2, I'm unclear how God will use me in this effort but I think Jesus gives us a clear picture of what it needs to look like in John 17. The current state of the church frustrates me. Jeff Schwarzentraub is doing some cool stuff here locally with church unity, and I've been talking to him frequently about how I can serve alongside. With a revived church, we won't need groups like Youth for Christ, so in essence I'm trying to work myself out of a job ... which may lead me to passion #3.

Passion #3, as you mentioned, is to lead God's people into worship through music. It's definitely a gift, but I'm not sure it's my strongest. This will continue to be clearer as the years roll on.

I will always accept and appreciate a challenge to be more prayerful. I've prayed on the topic of grad school, but not enough - it's a big decision, and I haven't devoted that kind of prayer ... yet. I also should look at other schools -- Moody was just the first on the visit schedule.

I'm not sure M.div is the way to go for me. I'm not too big on actually learning the full Hebrew and Greek languages. The MA programs at Moody give you a pretty good background in the languages, without actually having to be fluent. Like you, I'll probably start out with some distance learning stuff, and then do some one-week-intensive-format courses for a while. That way I can keep a full time job.

Mom and Dad are in support, as are my spiritual mentors. As for the future family -- I'd love to start one, just give me her number :-) Haha - seriously though, that was a huge concern on my heart a few weeks back, but recently God has given me an incredible peace and I'm now ready to wait on his timing - his provision - his plan.

jdb said...

I didn't answer one of your questions ...

Why grad school? I kind of want to teach at the college level someday, which would require at least an MA. Once I'm old and can no longer run with the young kids, I'd like to be able to prepare new generations through education.

Right now