The following student perspective was written by P.J. Oswald. P.J. has a B.A. in Classical Civilization from the University of California, Davis. He completed his M.Div. at Western Seminary's Sacramento Campus. He and his wife Erica planted a simple church community in their neighborhood, called the Mustard Seed Community.
"I find myself perplexed each time I hear people (including some seminary graduates) complain about the obscurity or irrelevance of seminary training. This is probably because my phenomenal experience at Western Seminary was such a relevant and humbling journey through studies of God, his Word, and practical ministry skill.
I am a Master of Divinity graduate, and I completed my training at the Western Seminary Sacramento campus in the early 2000′s. I was already involved in youth ministry when I began seminary, and was looking for a way to build scriptural understanding and leadership skills without having to leave my job. Classes were scheduled conveniently for folks with careers and families, which allowed me to hold down a full-time job while I made my way through. And the flexibility of my “open track” training allowed me to add church planting and coaching electives to my degree.
What I hadn’t expected was such a pragmatic focus in coursework. The professors Western employs love God greatly, and they have a great grasp on how to put skin on the gospel. Many are pastors, missionaries, counselors, coaches, and church planters, in addition to those who are long-time professors who travel in from the Portland campus. These profs led class sessions and mentored field ministry with great passion and skill. They left me with a greater love for God, a desire to understand the Bible, and a growing desire to build the church (my wife and I lead a organic church with a heart for neighborhood-based multiplication).
I can and do recommend Western Seminary to my friends time and time again as a community where you can train for ministry without leaving ministry."
Mark Stevens is a former seminary student himself and currently researches and teaches in the area of theological studies.