Aaron's Story

“I want to be the pastor of a small, ordinary church. Is it wise for me to pursue seminary education if it leaves my family with little financial stability?”

 Aaron & Pam

Pam & Aaron

Aaron didn’t want to choose between those options – pastoral ministry or financial stability. As an incoming M.Div. student at Westminster, he was eager to heed God’s call to pastoral ministry and our seminary offered the rigorous training he wanted in order to be well equipped to care for a future congregation.

Aaron’s heart sank when he calculated the total cost of his tuition and living expenses to pursue his degree. As the son of a minister, he was aware of the humble salary for pastors serving in smaller churches. Aaron had already taken out some loans for his undergraduate degree. Would he have to take out more loans or stretch his training over six (or more) years to work and study part-time? Could the cost of his education dissuade him from pursuing pastoral ministry?

As you may be well aware, difficult choices like Aaron’s are growing more common as educational costs rise across America. In fact, 34% of our incoming class this past year indicated they had more than $10,000 in undergraduate loans.

Each year we hear from accepted students – potential pastors and leaders in the church – who cannot enroll at Westminster because of tuition costs. In order to help address these needs Westminster offers a number of grants, including some from our own operating budget. But the number of grants we can offer each semester depends on you. Your gift can change the future of a pastor in training.

Aaron can attest to this. He very well could have been one of the students shut out of the comprehensive training in Scripture that Westminster offers. By God’s grace, however, a generous donor funded grants that closed the financial gap and enabled Aaron to attend. He and his wife, Pam, are committed to staying out of debt; she works as a nurse, and he took a part-time job on top of his studies. Today, Aaron is finishing his second year of studies and continues to delve into the riches of God’s Word as he prepares for a lifetime of ministry.

Westminster’s first president, Dr. Edmund Clowney, wrote in one of his earliest letters to friends and alumni of the seminary, “How our joy in Christ contrasts with the fear of the world. There are no shortages of grace!”

In our modern context Westminster can find many reasons to fear – we are a theological institution trying to thrive in a world that seems ever more hostile to the authority of Scripture and to those who follow Christ. As we have pressed forward in faith and joy, God has been gracious in his provision for us and our students. Fellow Christians like you have stepped forward knowing that your gifts help students like Aaron live, train, and serve God responsibly.

Dr. Clowney asked that the needs for Westminster students be met by people who “share with us in faith and give with joy.” Today we ask the same: Will you provide for students like Aaron?

In Third John the apostle encourages his friend Gaius: “It is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are... they have gone out for the sake of the name... therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”

Your gift for the students studying at Westminster is a “faithful thing” indeed.

Gratefully yours,

Peter A. Lillback, President


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