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Seminary Partnership Helps Student Pursue His Calling

Seminary Partnership Helps Student Pursue His Calling

Bethel Seminary offers multiple ways for adult students to qualify for credit, including work experience.

When Curtis Sethaler felt called from his work in construction to a full-time ministry career, he also knew that he wanted to pursue a master’s degree in seminary. Yet, although he volunteered in ministry and had a path forward in that area, he had not quite finished his bachelor’s degree. After spending time in prayer, he decided to pursue his academic goals at Bethel Seminary. 

Sethaler didn’t know it at the time, but Bethel Seminary offers multiple ways for adult students to qualify for credit, including work experience. Through his application process, Sethaler discovered he qualified for enough credits to start the online M.A. in Ministry program.

“Since I have been called to ministry, I have wanted to pursue a master’s, but couldn’t because of my situation,” Sethaler says. “But because of Bethel and how it works, I could, and it has meant everything to me.”

Sethaler is a staff associate and area director for Young Life in Quincy, Illinois. In his role, he has many responsibilities, including coordinating events, training leaders and volunteers, building relationships with community members, and serving as the public face of Young Life in his area.

As a Young Life staff member, Sethaler also receives benefits from the partnership between Young Life and Bethel Seminary. The courses Young Life staff complete as part of their training count toward credits in the M.A. in Ministry and the Master of Divinity programs.

With his Young Life work and training taking up much of his time, Sethaler has opted to take one class each semester. But the slow progress is well worth the payoff. Sethaler says his current class in hermeneutics has impacted his life and ministry in significant ways. “That course has opened my eyes to interpreting Scripture better, which allows me to be a better communicator—to speak to high school students and enter into conversation with them,” he says.

The Bible has also become more alive to him, Sethaler explains, as verses he read in the past have gained new meaning: “[Seminary has] given me a new depth of who God is, of who Christ is, and how that impacts my life. It’s been really great to share that with my family as we look at Scripture in new ways.”

Overall, Sethaler describes his seminary experience as invaluable. “It’s everything to me to be able to continue my education,” he says. “It means the world to me that there’s higher education that understands that God calls people at different times… so that I can walk in that calling.”

Learn more about Bethel Seminary’s academic partnerships with Young Life, Cru, and other organizations.