I have wanted to go on and get further education since I was about a year out of seminary. I never really felt like I wanted to leave the ministry to get the education, but I always thought I would like to get a D.Min, and perhaps teach a few Bible classes at a school somewhere. Or get a Ph.D. after about 20 years in the ministry and become a professor.
As I grew older and more experienced in ministry, my priorities for wanting to go back for more schooling changed. I wanted to learn more! I wanted to study things I had not gotten to study as much when I was younger. I wanted to get into an environment that challenged me to use my brain in the ways that only an education can challenge me. I wanted to gain expertise in some areas.
This month, I have turned 40. This was really my year to look at doctoral programs. We are out of school debt. The kids are getting a little older. The car will be paid off soon. I am losing weight, which will make travel easier. I thought, maybe if I can find something by the end of this year, then in the fall of 2014 I would begin my journey.
Then life happened. Baby bills were not completely covered. Jennifer has gotten breast cancer. Church attendance is down a little. More and more it becomes apparent that the dream of getting further education is really not in the cards for me. I can't afford it. I can't be away from my family that much. I have different priorities.
It has become equally clear to me, especially as I look back on pastors of old, that I can still pursue my education, and do a lot of in-depth learning that I want to do, I am just going to have to create my own learning environment. I am going to develop my own curriculum, write papers based on my studies, and make my own personal doctoral program. Might not get me in the door teaching anywhere, but it will allow me to gain the knowledge that I want. I am going to need to find mentors that will support me, and keep me accountable.
So, in the next few weeks I am going to create my own "working pastor's ph.d.' for myself, and then seek to achieve what I have set out to do. Wish me luck. Wish me strength. And pray that I have the courage to follow through..