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Seminary Graduate Testimonies

Seminary Graduate Testimonies
From left to right: Back row (faculty) Bruce Turner, Paul Funchess, Dan Jarms, Brian Sayers, John Smith; Front row (graduates) Brent Powers, Dave Knowles. Photography by Anna Copley

Last Sunday at Faith Bible Church, our campus of The Master’s Seminary celebrated the graduation of two men, with a third participating in the ceremony at the main campus in Southern California.

Their accomplishment is far more than an academic hurdle overcome; it is the product of a church that prioritizes training qualified ministers of God’s Word to serve in our region and around the world. Without the support and prayers of Faith as a whole, the seminary would not be in Spokane.

Here are the graduates’ reflections on what God has done through you.
     

Dave Knowles

Faith Bible Church

Before coming to Faith Bible Church, we had just finished up a long season in ministry, and were in need of refreshment and encouragement. Having served as a pastor without a seminary education, I felt that my ministry toolbox wasn’t as full as it should be. On-the-job training was good, but insufficient. This sense of inadequacy forced me to depend upon God—but I longed to combine that dependence with training to become a more effective shepherd.

To my great delight, God provided the means to attend The Master’s Seminary at Faith. Then I began to wonder: How could an “older dog” like me (I’m 56) keep up with all the quick-minded young “greyhounds” I’d be studying alongside? I was the one with the grey, not them!

Despite my doubts, the encouragement of my wife, kids, professors, and fellow seminarians strengthened my heart to study.

TMS helped me to grow. Jerod Gilcher’s Hebrew class encouraged me in the richness of the Old Testament and convinced me that even I could understand Hebrew (and English) grammar.

I was humbled by the depth of my need for the Lord’s help in Dan Jarms’ prayer and pastoral classes.

The divine wisdom of progressive revelation became evident in Bruce Turner’s Biblical Theology class. Brian Sayers’ counseling classes gave guidance in applying the sufficient Scriptures to all manner of issues in my own life and that of others. John Smith’s preaching classes guided me in preparing effective and God-honoring sermons.

And all the while, Paul Funchess and Ian Rush kept watch over our spiritual and family lives throughout our demanding schedule. In every case, I was mentored by men whose devotion to Christ is self-evident.

Joyful friendships developed with my fellow students too. We studied, discussed, and occasionally argued about theology. But mostly we encouraged each another in our pursuit of service to Christ. I hope to remain in touch with these men and provide mutual support in future ministry.

It’s ironic that now that the last lecture is over, every assignment finished, and the last paper has been submitted, I still feel a sense of inadequacy — but not because I lack training. Now I feel it simply because no man is sufficient within himself to shepherd God’s people. As the Apostle Paul said, “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16) Not me.

But I am confident that God gladly works through the foolish, the weak, the low, the despised, and the “old dog.” Because, in people like that, God makes it evident that anything of lasting value is achieved by His power, not their own.

What does the future hold? Lord willing, I will return to full-time pastoring, preach God’s Word clearly and effectively, and pass along my training to the next generation of church leaders. We don’t yet know where, but no matter where we end up, we want you, our church family, to know how very grateful we are. Because, through you, God made all this possible.

With love, Dave, Lin, Nattie, Sandy, and Corey Knowles

  

Brent Powers

Christ Our Hope Bible Church

It is hard to believe that my five years at TMS in Spokane have come to a close. As I reflect on both the blessings and trials of these years, I clearly see God’s faithfulness and kindness. I can proclaim with King David in Psalm 63, “For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your winds I will sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

Seminary has been a sweet season of sanctification. For His glory and my good, God has used this time to reveal my sin and shortcomings. He has faithfully grown my humble dependence on Christ alone. The Lord has been my help and He has held me fast.

I am grateful for the opportunity TMS in Spokane has provided. It is a unique blessing to be trained by local pastors in my hometown. I’ve benefited from hearing their teaching, sitting under their preaching, and seeing them individually shepherd their churches and families. TMS Spokane provides the perfect balance of theological and pastoral training.

I am thankful to each of the faculty for the unique role they have played in my education. I am also grateful for the Seminary Wives program that has been such a great support to my wife. It has provided fellowship with godly women in the same season of life and discipleship relationships with those currently in ministry. I am confident that the relationships my wife and I have built during seminary will be a blessing for years to come.

By God’s grace, I have the opportunity to continue my training at Christ Our Hope Bible Church as a pastoral resident. The church has walked through this season of seminary with us. Their encouragement, prayer, and support have been amazing. I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve and pursue ordination there. God is good!

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