Transition into seminary

Posted Jun 18, 2014 | The Discipleship Project


By Abigail Harper

Abigail HarperThrough a chance encounter and the persistence of a dear friend, I finally answered a call to ministry and applied for The Disciples Project (TDP) at Christian Theological Seminary. My husband and I packed up and moved from Wilson, NC, to Carmel, IN. With two happy dogs, one terrified cat, one rental truck with car in tow, and miles and miles of highway ahead of us, we finally made it.

I always knew I wanted to go back to school, I just wasn't sure what I wanted, or needed, to study. I had looked into several social work and psychology degrees back home, but the time was never right, let alone the price. My husband is also in school working on his M.Div. at Lexington Theological Seminary. Since we both have loans from our undergraduate work and expenses have been piling up, my wishes for continuing education stayed squarely on the back burner.

However, it seemed God had other plans. As is the case for many others at CTS, it was the persistence and friendship of Reverend Mary Harris, Dean of Students at CTS, that convinced me to apply for TDP. Now, because of TDP, I am here at CTS and have had many amazing experiences.

As I began registration for my second year along with discussions about field placements in a church, I discovered many potential placements are in the areas of associate pastor or youth pastor. However, I feel called to serve in a different area of ministry. When I left North Carolina and my work as a regional long term care ombudsman was coming to an end, I discovered a passion for older adult advocacy, which has now taken a front row seat in the development of my call to ministry.

And once again, God opened a door. The congregation my husband was called to serve began considering ministries for older adults as well. I am honored and very grateful that CTS has allowed me to design and develop a field placement opportunity with this focus. This fall I will serve as Senior Adult Ministry Specialist alongside my husband at First Christian Church, Crawfordsville, IN.

As we embark on this new chapter in both of our ministries, I am thankful for the many doors that TDP opened for me by bringing me to CTS, and I look forward to new and innovative ways to do multi-generational ministry in the churches in my new state.

Abigail Harper is a Master of Divinity student at CTS and a member of the second TDP cohort. Abigail comes to CTS with a Bachelor of Science in Gerontology from Barton College and four years of extensive case work experience as a Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman.

The Discipleship Project is a groundbreaking approach to theological education at Christian Theological Seminary that is inspired by Jesus’ pedagogy in the New Testament gospels. To request permission to repost this content, please contact