Alumni, Featured Stories, TEDS, TGS

Trinity fall graduates will minister in diverse settings

Trinity CommunicationsDecember 14, 2018

As 100 students from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Trinity Graduate School finish degrees and begin new ministry chapters, they enter diverse settings such as a seminary in Indonesia, a church in rural Iowa and an inner-city neighborhood on Chicago’s near-west side.

Sarinah Lo earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational studies. Her dissertation examined the work of faculty members within Christian higher education in Indonesia. She plans to teach full-time at Indonesia’s Bandung Theological Seminary.

Fall graduates Tyler Stauffer, Sarinah Lo, and April Jouett prepare to leave for three distinct ministry contexts. Photo by David Beirne

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” Lo said, citing Matthew 9:37. “I hope to equip young men and women to share the Gospel and do good works in a predominantly Muslim context.”

Bandung is a city of 2.4 million in a mountainous tropical setting on the island of Java. Tyler Stauffer is beginning a new ministry post in a Midwestern farming community of 159 people.

Stauffer and his wife Brielle have served nearby Village Church of Lincolnshire during Tyler’s time as a TEDS student. He completed a Master of Divinity degree and accepted a call this fall to become pastor of discipleship at Oakdale Evangelical Free Church in Meriden, Iowa, about 70 miles northeast of Sioux City.

“I heard a statistic once that, in the not-too-distant future, 80 percent of the population will live in cities, and so the church needs to focus there,” Stauffer said. “I couldn’t help but ask, ‘what about the 20 percent?’ My experience in rural ministry and at seminary has been that not many people ask that question. I feel called to be a committed, faithful minister to this largely ignored context.”

April Jouett completed a Master of Arts in Leadership degree from Trinity Graduate School. She works for Pursue Scholars, a nonprofit organization that provides holistic support for college students. Jouett’s work focuses on the East Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago.

“In the future,” Jouett said, “I would like to get into the world of higher education, helping students navigate the college experience well.”

About 70 students took part in the commencement ceremonies; 30 more completed requirements for their degrees. In all, 50 fall 2018 graduates completed Master of Arts degrees, 22 completed Master of Divinity programs, six finished with Master of Theology degrees, and 22 completed doctoral programs.

“We are grateful to God for each one of these graduates,” president David S. Dockery said. “We certainly trust the Lord’s blessings and enablement on their work in this country and around the globe.”

Photo by David Beirne

Ed Stetzer, dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton and affiliate professor of Research and Missional Ministry at TEDS, brought the commencement address, titled “Engaging Others in God’s Mission.” He encouraged the graduates not to build their ministries around themselves.

From his text, I Peter 4:10, Stetzer reminded the graduates that all Christians, not just divinity school graduates, are empowered with spiritual gifts from God.

“The majority of people in the majority of churches are not using their spiritual gifts,” Stetzer said. “Most people like to show up for the show, and not get involved in serving. Churches have become filled with passive spectators rather than active participants in the mission of God.

“People will defer to you to use your gift rather than using their gift,” Stetzer said. “The question is will you do that, or will you take a different path?

“You are leaving here with a transformative educational experience,” Stetzer concluded. “Glorify God by empowering others. Resist the gravitational pull of your expertise and instead do what the writer of Hebrews said: provoke one another to love and good deeds.”

Commencement marks the completion of Trinity’s fall semester. Spring semester classes are scheduled to begin Jan. 9.

(Click here to see a photo gallery marking fall commencement on Facebook)

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