The 2023 Graduation Experience

“I thought seminary was going to be a really great tool as I prepared to serve in a new way, as I embarked on this new journey, as I followed God’s call, but I don’t think I was ready for how life changing it was going to be. Winebrenner is a place where we can get our degrees in the MACC program or MDIVs…MAPT degrees. We can learn all of the course materials and all of that, but it’s so much more than just those things, and I think I can speak on behalf of my fellow students, and they would agree, this isn’t just a place where we learn concepts and ideas, but this is a place where we were developed, and we’ve grown.”

On Saturday, July 29th, Derek Pryor, graduate of the Master of Divinity program at Winebrenner Theological Seminary greeted his peers with the above words. This year, 23 students received their diplomas transformed and better equipped to serve the Kingdom of God. Christ-focused leaders from 6 different states and 12 different denominations have been sent into your churches and your neighborhoods to further the mission of Christ. The building was full of graduates and their family members celebrating and giving glory to God for the good work He has begun in each of their lives.  

Graduate Regina Thomas reflected, “Graduation day was a mix of emotions from beginning to end. Joy and relief that I had reached this day coupled with grief and loss that this chapter of my life is complete, and I need to step out in faith and trust God to write my next chapter. In the flood of all the emotions, a dear friend reminded me that God is still crafting my counseling box. While I do not know what practicing as a licensed professional counselor will look like balanced with current responsibilities, God has used my time at Winebrenner to equip my heart, soul, and mind to step out in faith and embrace His calling on my life. I will follow where He leads!” Regina graduated from the Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling program as a part of the largest graduating cohort to date. In addition, Winebrenner graduated it’s largest Doctor of Ministry class on record.

Dr. Andrew Draper reminded the students as they prepared to receive their diplomas, “All of you who are graduating and going into ministry might feel at this moment like you’ve been given a big backpack of tools to carry, and there will be moments when the tools don’t seem to work, they don’t seem to fit the problem at hand, but you will still be filled with the living guidance and presence of the Holy Spirit, who will continue to birth the gifts and the fruit of God through your life, and what greater gift than that.” Please keep the graduates and their families in your prayers as they go forth with the power of the Holy Spirit serving the Kingdom of God.