A Shared Calling: Church-Based Pastoral Training

One month after marrying, Robert and Ashley Wauhop piled everything they owned into a car and drove from Virginia—where they’d met in college—to Los Angeles, where Robert was going to train for ministry at The Master’s Seminary. When they moved east again four years later, this time to Georgia for pastoral ministry, they brought far more than a seminary degree with them. They brought children—a girl and boy born during their time in California—a bevy of friendships they’d formed while serving on Grace Church’s high school staff, and invaluable ministry experience in the local church.

Now a senior pastor in Valdosta, Georgia, Robert still has close ties to Grace Church. He comes to Shepherds Conference each year, his family vacations with members of our church, and his shepherding heart is guided by his relationships with our elders. He knows his experiences at Grace Church doubled the value of his education at TMS. 

“I came here for one education and I ended up receiving two,” Robert tells everyone who asks him about his time at TMS. “I received world-class theological training at TMS and an equally valuable education in ministry at Grace Community Church.”

Thousands of the seminary’s graduates would echo Robert’s sentiment. They come to The Master’s Seminary for the classroom, but, inevitably, they benefit just as much from the relationships they build and the practical ministry they participate in here at Grace Church. 

And so, from all of us at The Master’s Seminary, thank you, Grace Church, for your care for these students. It is clear that we not only share a campus, we also share a calling: to train faithful, courageous shepherds for God’s church. As we continue to participate in this glorious work, here are some practical ways you can come alongside the men entrusted to us at The Master’s Seminary.

First, you can pray for the men who come here to train, and for those who leave here to shepherd. Pray they would be men of conviction, character, and courage. Pray they would be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. And pray for protection from the devil’s schemes. He wants nothing more than to derail those who proclaim God’s truth.

Second, get to know our students. Invite them and their families over for dinner. Spend time with them. Let them know you care and want to befriend them. The richer each student’s relationships at Grace Church, the more effective his future ministry will be.

Finally, support a seminary student financially. Your generous gifts have helped ease the high cost of theological training in Southern California, but as each class of men enrolls, we are reminded of this constant need. You can also help address the biggest obstacle in keeping men from moving here to train at TMS: cost of living. As rent has increased in Los Angeles County, it’s made it more difficult for students to find affordable housing. If you have housing options for our students, consider renting your property to a seminary student. This would be a tremendous blessing to our students and a joy for you as you care for someone preparing to care for the flock of God. 

At The Master’s Seminary, our motto is “we train men because lives depend on it.” The reality is you, too, train men. The “we” applies to every member of Grace Church. You are our pride and it is our joy to connect students to the blessings of life at Grace as they prepare for the most noble of life’s callings.

For more information on how to support students at The Master’s Seminary, please contact the seminary at 818-909-5622 or development@tms.edu.