By Graham McKeague on July 29, 2015
Welcome to Talking Points, a new blog hosted by Grand Rapids Theological Seminary! Talking Points offers a place for conversation about theology, vocation and culture.
By Graham McKeague on July 29, 2015
Welcome to Talking Points, a new blog hosted by Grand Rapids Theological Seminary! Talking Points offers a place for conversation about theology, vocation and culture.
By Darrell Yoder on August 3, 2015
I'm excited to participate in this new Talking Points blog! I will be engaged in this conversation primarily as a practitioner, a pastor who spends a lot of time thinking about and engaged in the practical issues we face in the Church. My role at GRTS though—working with and mentoring future pastors; planning and coordinating our Talking Points conferences—offers me a unique glimpse at what the seminary…
By Sarah Enck on August 5, 2015
We all live in a broken world. Within our churches we interact with people who are living with depression, experiencing adultery, or have experienced intense trauma and abuse. The church is not immune to this brokenness and sin. Ministry leaders are often in roles that require a listening ear for their congregants.
By Kris Rolls on August 10, 2015
At GRTS, we seek to thrive as a learning community committed to excellence in academic rigor and faithfulness in devotion to Scripture. Students are an important facet of that culture, so from time to time on the Talking Points Blog we will spotlight students and their stories. We hope this will give testimony to the work God is doing in their lives and in our community as a whole.
By Graham McKeague on August 12, 2015
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…
By Darrell Yoder on August 17, 2015
I was raised in the Church. I came to faith around 10 years old in a rural Mennonite church in Northern Indiana. Thirteen years later, when I decided to go to seminary, many people around me had no idea what a seminary was (none of our pastors had ever gone), and they wondered about the value of "going to school for so many years."
During seminary, then, I was both inspired and disillusioned. I was…
By Ashley VanBemmelen on August 19, 2015
Almost 3 years ago, I walked across the stage, gave a little squeal and grabbed my diploma from the dean. It was an exciting day to have family and friends celebrating the accomplishment with me. I finally completed my Master of Arts in Counseling and was excited to see how the Lord would use it.
By Darrell Yoder on August 26, 2015
Last week, my family joined ten others on a three-day camping trip to Silver Lake State Park on the west coast of Michigan's lower peninsula. It was our last hurrah before school starts, and we loved every minute of it. If you do the math, we had 22 adults and 31 children—53 people relaxing on the beach, swimming, laughing, riding bikes, telling stories and cooking incredible food over an open fire…
By Peter Osborn on August 31, 2015
Ministry staff transitions, both for employers and employees, can often be equally challenging. The purpose of this post is to reflect on some things that may help churches and ministry leaders chart a healthy course.
By Sarah Enck on September 2, 2015
When I began seminary three years ago, I thought I had a basic understanding of the changes I would experience by stepping into the M.A. in Counseling program. I was so excited to learn more about theology, Scripture and counseling, and I was eager to immerse myself into the graduate academic world. I knew I would grow as a Christian and a professional counselor.
The more I waded through concepts…
By Darrell Yoder on September 8, 2015
On Oct. 7, pastors and ministry leaders will gather at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary for a Talking Points conference on new creation theology. The theme "Thy Kingdom Come" is taken from the Lord's Prayer and highlights the earthiness of the Christian Hope.
By Steven Lister on September 9, 2015
Most of my adult life, I've struggled with a tension. See, I love reading God's Word. I love going to worship services. But I also love naps. And football. And avocados. Is that okay? Is it okay that out of 52 Sundays of the year I take one of them to go on vacation with my family?
There have been times when I felt it wasn't. Growing up, my church never taught much about creation other than "denying…
By Darrell Yoder on September 14, 2015
We have a fantastic line up of speakers for Talking Points on Oct. 7. Each speaker will explore the topic of new creation theology from a different angle: biblically, theologically, historically and homiletically. To help with this last angle—the task of preaching new creation theology—we have invited Dr. Cornelius (Neal) Plantinga to give a new creation sermon during the conference.
By Ashley VanBemmelen on September 17, 2015
A question students often ask in their last year of the Counseling program is "How do I get licensed?" This post will walk you through the process of obtaining your Limited License Professional Counselor (LLPC) license in the state of Michigan step by step with a time frame (other states may have variations):
Begin obtaining information on local counseling supervisors…
By Graham McKeague on September 21, 2015
A couple of weeks ago we welcomed over 75 new students to GRTS for the start of the new school year. It is always a joy to see new students come to campus to begin their seminary studies. Months of hard work and preparation come together to make the new student orientation a successful day and ensure new students are ready to start classes.
At the start of a new school year it is exciting to see students…
By Kris Rolls on September 23, 2015
Dr. Douglas Moo is an influential writer, authoring several books, commentaries and academic journal articles spanning multiple genres of New Testament literature. His primary areas of research include Pauline theology, creation theology, Galatians, Romans and Hebrews.
Dr. Moo has been a significant resource for me as I've studied the New Testament. He is thoughtful, charitable and typically brings…
By Julián Guzmán on September 30, 2015
Yo nací y crecí en la Republica Dominicana y aprendí desde niño que pasaría la eternidad volando como los ángeles, adorando y cantando a Dios para siempre. La idea no me parecía muy atractiva (aunque es mejor que pasarme la eternidad en llamas), y los conceptos bíblicos como "nueva creación" y "cielo nuevo y tierra nueva" eran muy abstractos e intimidantes a la vez. Se me hacía muy difícil reconciliar…
By Julián Guzmán on October 1, 2015
I was raised in the Dominican Republic and learned as a child that I would spend eternity flying around praising God forever. The idea wasn't very attractive (although better than spending eternity in flames), and biblical concepts like "new creation" and "new heaven and new earth" became abstract and scary. I found it difficult to reconcile the "heaven forever" and the "new earth" ideas. As a good…
By Darrell Yoder on October 5, 2015
On Wednesday, we will hold our next Talking Points Conference on the topic "Thy Kingdom Come," a conversation about New Creation Theology. We pray for God's Kingdom to come "on earth" in the Lord's Prayer, and the New Testament refers often to "new creation" as central to the Gospel and the mission of Christ in the world. What "kingdom" and "new creation" are we talking about, and what difference does…
By Sarah Enck on October 12, 2015
Dr. Robert Lehman offers expertise as both a counselor and a ministry leader. He served on staff at several churches as a youth pastor and pastor of counseling for 16 years, and is beginning his 32nd year of counseling practice.
By Ashley VanBemmelen on October 19, 2015
Where do I begin working when I graduate with the M.A. in Counseling?
This is the question I couldn't get out of my head during my last year in the program. I knew I wanted to work with trauma, but I was nervous to start my own practice. What options were left?
I needed a site that would provide clients for me to see without much effort on my behalf. For this reason, I looked at agency work and small…
By Graham McKeague on October 21, 2015
It's October and the heart of the fall season (my favorite time of year) but I am already looking forward to the spring. Each year, at the end of January and in the midst of the winter freeze, the spring semester begins at the seminary.
Looking ahead to the spring 2016 semester, there are many things to look forward to and anticipate at GRTS. Each January about 35-40 new students start their seminary…
By Darrell Yoder on October 26, 2015
On Oct. 7, pastors and ministry leaders gathered at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary for the Fall 2015 Talking Points conference. The theme of the conference was "Thy Kingdom Come: An Exploration of New Creation Theology." A huge thanks to all who attended and helped make it an amazing day. If you missed it, you can download the recordings here.
Our next Talking Points will be a series in the spring…
By Tara Kram on October 28, 2015
Many graduates of GRTS's Master of Arts in Counseling program choose to pursue traditional counseling careers in agency or private practice settings. Although this is the most common career path, many choose other vocational avenues. We have alumni serving as human resources directors, professors, church ministry leaders and university student development staff. I also chose to go a non-traditional…
By Gene Beerens on October 30, 2015
I deeply appreciated the opportunity to attend the Talking Points Conference, "Thy Kingdom Come." I was again moved and challenged both personally and professionally by exploring the further implications of living out this prayer in the "already, but not yet" Kingdom in our world.
By Martin Spence on November 2, 2015
In my presentation at the Thy Kingdom Come Talking Points conference, I tried to show how the church has veered away from the idea of new creation throughout history. Some of these turns were made not as the result of an explicit discussion of the end times, but rather as the consequence of some other debate or pastoral concern. Each turn has created an accretion of ideas that make new creation a strange…
By Graham McKeague on November 4, 2015
Dr. Catherine Mueller-Bell has 30 years of counseling experience in both local and global contexts. She teaches across multiple areas of the counseling curriculum including classes on multicultural counseling, child and adolescent counseling, counseling women through the life cycle, career development and addictions counseling.
By Martin Spence on November 6, 2015
New creation is a strange concept for many Bible-believing Christians, in part because of historical twists and turns that have encouraged non-biblical ways of thinking. In my last post, I described two reasons why this has happened—biblical interpretation and pastoral care for those who suffer—and I gave some practical suggestions on how to move forward.
In this post, I want to offer two more reasons…
By Darrell Yoder on November 9, 2015
What does being a business owner, doctor, farmer or retail employee have to do with following Jesus? This series seeks to answer that question and provide pastors and ministry leaders with the tools they need to keep the conversation alive in their churches.
By Sarah Enck on November 11, 2015
In December, Marissa Freyling is graduating with a Master of Arts in Counseling—completing another milestone in her life. Another piece of Marissa's story begins in ninth grade when she was diagnosed with cancer—a long battle that has produced more hope and faith in Christ as she seeks to find her strength in him.
Marissa's journey has reaffirmed her calling to share this hope with the people she…
By Kris Rolls on December 2, 2015
When was the last time you heard (or preached) a sermon series based on Deuteronomy or 1 Chronicles or Hosea? Or any other difficult book from the Old Testament? My answer is "never." The New Testament is generally more accessible for modern audiences. It seems more straightforward about what to believe and how to live. By contrast, the Old Testament can be a strange, foreign and unfamiliar place.…
By Ashley VanBemmelen on December 9, 2015
Everyone who considers counseling has to wrestle with at least one basic question, Could I really do this kind of work? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get insight as to whether you would make a good counselor:
By Sarah Enck on December 16, 2015
I'm not one for clichés, but I recently found this idea very convicting. As a student in the M.A. in Counseling program, I continuously advocate for anyone to seek counseling. I believe that anyone could use an unbiased person in their life to ask helpful questions and teach healthier habits. Why would anyone pass on an opportunity to grow?
Self-care is a counseling term that has been emphasized throughout…
By Kris Rolls on December 30, 2015
New Years is an interesting holiday that is loaded with all sorts of meaning. Around this time a few years ago I listened to a sermon from popular Christian philosopher James K. A. Smith. He titled his sermon, "Giving Up on Resolution." I remember it well because it was such a stark critique of what I thought to be "harmless" New Year's resolutions. Why wouldn't I want to lose weight? Get a gym membership?…
By Darrell Yoder on January 4, 2016
Not too long ago, I was talking to a friend who was feeling guilty after hearing his pastor speak about service. The pastor's appeal was a good one. As followers of Christ, we are called to look out for others in need and to be generous with our time and resources. The message was from the story of Peter raising Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9.36-41).
Part of the story is how Tabitha was known for "always…
By Tara Kram on January 6, 2016
Family is gone. The Christmas tree has returned to its box (no, I've never had a real one). WCSG is back to its regular family-friendly, non-Christmas tunes. And I haven't seen the sun in a week. Yep, sounds like January in Michigan.
I don't know about you, but I'm in post-Christmas recovery mode. All the hype of the celebration has dissipated, and I'm left ho-humming around the house. What to do?…
By Darrell Yoder on January 11, 2016
Over the last three years, I have had the privilege of working with and building a friendship with my colleague, the Rev. Dr. Royce Evans. Initially, I was impressed with the breadth of his ministry experience (and that's still true), but as I've gotten to know him and his heart for the Kingdom I've been even more inspired by his openness, humility and courage. I'm excited to say we've invited him…
By Ashley VanBemmelen on January 13, 2016
The seminary is such a quiet space with students on break. I can walk out of my office and down the hall without being greeted by a friend or running into anyone really. Somedays the quiet is nice. I am able to zone in on work and get a lot done. I appreciate the extra opportunity to focus.
Most days, though, it just feels empty. GRTS is a seminary. It's a place where students come to learn more about…
By Royce Evans on January 21, 2016
Recently, GRTS adopted the phrase "Following God's Call" in our recruiting emphasis and missional statements. I must admit that when I first saw this phrase in seminary materials and heard it in conversations with my colleagues, I thought it doesn't get much simpler than that. In retrospect, however, the simplicity of that statement belies what is often a much more critical and complex question, not…
By Sarah Enck on February 29, 2016
Damaris Garcia is one of eleven students in the first cohort of the new M.A. Counseling online program at Cornerstone University. She met the other members of her cohort for the first time on Jan. 7, the first day of their three- to four-year program together. The day started with an orientation in the morning and launched right into their first class that afternoon. The following two days were part…
By Kris Rolls on March 2, 2016
It should go without saying on this blog—but I will say it anyway: The Bible is essential for the life, health, and sustenance of the Church; it is the very Word of God to his people. Studying the Bible and communicating it effectively, though, requires loving, careful and hard work. Christians should love words—both written and spoken—simply because we are keepers, doers, and lovers of the Word. The…
By Dani Lauer on March 16, 2016
"Life is a journey, not a destination." —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Journey. An act of traveling from one place to another. A long and often difficult process of personal change and development.
Destination. A place where someone or something is going or being sent.
What is it about us as humans that enjoys destinations? Think about it. We have all these milestones in our lives, and people often encourage…
By Brittany Stichter on March 25, 2016
In this week's chapel, Pastor Joe Lane brought a message from Philippians 2:5-11, exploring "Jesus as our Purposeful Example." He describes how Jesus' purpose affected other areas of His life and how His example relates to us.
Jesus' purpose was more important than His pleasure, power, prominence, or pain. Ours is too. Our God-given purpose cannot be fulfilled if we are not becoming like Christ.…
By Ashley VanBemmelen on April 18, 2016
A deep desire to help victims of trauma led me to the field of counseling. During my undergraduate days, I met therapists in Grand Rapids to learn about trauma counseling. I connected with therapists from private practices, inpatient facilities as well as outpatient services to understand what it meant to work in the field.
By Sarah Enck on April 20, 2016
I survived an interview for my first counseling job. After learning that my husband and I were being relocated to Indiana, I knew that I had to look for a new job. But where to start? I knew that part of the job-hunting process was having connections, but I felt lost when thinking about looking in a new town.
By Brittany Stichter on April 22, 2016
This week, chapel was a little different than normal. Instead of having a speaker, Rev. Dr. Royce Evans had a Service Fair for students to get involved with area ministries.
As a tangible expression of this semester's theme of "An Appropriate Presence," Dr. Evans invited six different organizations to set up displays and connect with our students about ways they are being present in our world. They…
By Lindsey Bandy on May 9, 2016
Easter, which we celebrated a month ago, has been a common topic in my counseling office lately. Perhaps it's because any holiday that involves the gathering of families inevitably becomes a topic with one's therapist. Whatever the reason, Easter has been on our minds.
By Jo Anna Kelly on May 11, 2016
As adults, it seems we often view higher education in a similar fashion—as a means of personal or professional fulfillment. Often we pursue higher degrees in order to fulfill specific personal or vocational goals. Those who elect to return to college are often making the decision to gain a promotion or because they feel that they have plateaued in their current position. When we no longer feel fulfilled…
By Joe Wright on May 16, 2016
What a journey it has been! In May 2015, I graduated from GRTS, completing my Master of Divinity degree in 4 years through the Kern Scholars Program. Then in August, at age 26, I was called to be the new pastor at Bellaire Wesleyan Church in northern Michigan. The two words that describe my emotional state upon receiving the phone call were excited and terrified. You see, throughout the job search…
By Brittany Stichter on October 7, 2016
This week in chapel, Pastor Joe Lane spoke to us from Luke 19:41 about ministry. He pointed out that we need to go to ministry, that we need to see ministry and that we need to feel ministry. Since Jesus approached Jerusalem, Pastor Lane challenged us to go to ministry. He challenged us to—the next time we are at our churches—stop and look around. Where are the real needs in our churches? Finally,…
By Sarah Enck on September 14, 2016
When I sat in Dr. Lehman's Ethics course during the first semester of my M.A. in Counseling program, I never imagined the gravity of compassion fatigue during my future career as a counselor. I was mildly self-aware at the time, enough to realize that my strength in empathy would be my greatest asset and my greatest enemy when working in this field. I understood that I would be able to make quick connections…
By James Link on January 10, 2017
So you're thinking about not going to college. It's understandable. More and more people are opting out of college because they think they can do better on their own. That they can build a rewarding and profitable career through non-traditional means. It worked for guys like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, so it will surely work for them.
But there is one, massive problem with this line of thinking…
By Sean Harrell on January 30, 2017
I have learned a great many things about helping others from books. I have learned many more from therapy. The helping professions are, to my mind, among the most sacred vocations one may be a part of. We are allowed to witness those experiences that are often kept from the world; to hear what for many has been unsayable, unutterable. We are invited into the most sensitive areas of others' lives, and…
By Mike Ward on March 10, 2017
Trying to work part-time while going to school full-time can be quite the challenge. You're trying to juggle classes, homework, work, your social life and the battle to stay sane.
Is it possible to work full-time and study full-time? Sounds crazy right? Like a recipe for complete, flaming burnout, followed by dropping out of school. Only crazy people would try to work and study full-time.
By James Link on March 17, 2017
It may surprise you to learn that more adults are going back to school? But why? We dive in and give you 7 reasons it's happening.
By Darrell Yoder on March 30, 2017
Two weeks ago, we hosted the Spring 2017 Talking Points Conference, focusing on the theme "Bridging Worlds: Preaching the Ancient Story Today." What a fantastic day! We were blessed to have seven speakers engage a room full of pastors, teachers, and students.
Here are some highlights from the conference with audio recording links.
By Kris Rolls on April 5, 2017
Grand Rapids Theological Seminary is undergoing an exciting season of growth! This fall we are excited to be welcoming two new full-time counseling faculty to our learning community. Faculty make incredibly important contributions to the culture of our school as they instruct students, make academic policy decisions and continue to labor in their disciplines through research and writing. Over the last…
By Joe Stowell on June 6, 2017
Our world needs Christ-centered graduates. I'm reminded of that every day. So when I hear about our CU alumni influencing the world for Jesus Christ, I like to share their stories with others. Most recently, the President's Office reconnected with Janelle Brown, a business major and 2012 President's Award recipient. She answered a few questions about her life as a CU alumnus and her position serving…
By Meredith Sweet on June 30, 2017
You love your college; after all, that's why you enrolled. And even if you don't know what you want to study yet, you don't have to compare yourself to the other students you might be seeing on social media.
It's okay to still be searching. It's okay to feel uncertain.
And if you're looking for guidance or just a different point of view, here are four ways you can use your first semester to help…
By Patti Ticknor on July 12, 2017
Returning to school can be a terrifying thing with so many things to deal with. Here are six simple ways to overcome all your fears.
By Brad Stamm on July 18, 2017
Returning to college isn't a donation, fee or other expense. It's an investment. Here, a business professor's perspective of why a college degree is so worth it.
By Steve Graham on October 17, 2017
For most employees, and employers, growing in one's career is a constant goal. But how do you pursue career development? Here, PGS instructor Steve Graham shares how.
By Allison Todd on November 28, 2017
From administering medication to educating patients on physical therapy strategies, your decision to enter a career in the health care industry means that you will play a meaningful role in saving lives. With a career in nursing, it can even go beyond basic patient care.
By Allison Todd on December 13, 2017
Matt Williams, assistant professor of engineering, recently joined the Cornerstone University community as a faculty member in the Kinesiology, Science & Mathematics Division. With degrees in both engineering and theology, he is passionate about preparing college students to excel as virtuous engineering professionals and committed disciples of Christ.
During a recent conversation, Professor Williams…
By Allison Todd on February 13, 2018
At Cornerstone University, Lori Dewitt serves as the head of the nursing program. Recently, she shared her story of entering the nursing profession and reflected on opportunities you can have as a nurse in today's society.
By Sarah Hiemstra on February 26, 2018
At Cornerstone University, Kara Martin (B.S. '19) is pursuing more than a degree. She has accomplished her goal of becoming a personal trainer and has already launched her own business, all while attending Cornerstone's traditional undergraduate program.
In a recent interview, Kara shared her story and some exciting opportunities happening with her business Worthy Fitness.
By Ellie Walburg on June 13, 2018
In order to improve, you'll need to have a growth mindset. Discover the value of a growth mindset over a fixed mindset and how you can chase that framework.
By Kimberly Atwood on October 4, 2018
Eli Anderson (B.A. ’18) had no clue when he committed to Cornerstone University in 2014 that, less than four years later, he'd be digging up ancient history in Israel.
By Ellie Walburg on October 11, 2018
Living out a growth mindset can change the way you work, for the better. Discover how a change in thinking can bring about positive company culture.
By Eve Herndon on October 16, 2018
Research is increasingly showing social-emotional learning is a key element of success in today's work environment.