M.Div. Pastoral Ministries, Philadelphia campus
Hometown: Statesville, N.C.
Hobbies: fixing up old houses, reading, yard work, bicycling
M.Div. student Joe Troutman is no stranger to hard work. He grew up on a dairy farm, earned a B.A. in Bible and Religion from Montreat College (N.C.), and served as a mortarman in the U.S. Marine Corps. So when choosing a seminary to continue his theological training, “I was looking to be challenged in my faith and knowledge of Christ in the same way I was challenged physically and mentally in the Marines,” he says. Westminster “has lived up to that expectation in every way!”
Most recently, for example, the academic challenge took the form of a paper for Old Testament History and Theology II with Professor Al Groves. “Professor Groves pushes his students to consider things about a biblical text that we would not think about otherwise,” he explains. “It was a difficult exercise, but incredibly beneficial.”
Those benefits are not just theological, in terms of knowledge gained, but spiritual too. “Westminster has forced me to realize that I cannot do it alone—whether it is learning about God in a seminary setting, or growing in my faith in my local church body, I need God’s Spirit as well as the fellowship of believers in Christ to help me through life’s challenges.”
His internship in the Student Affairs office has given him opportunities to invest that principle in the lives of others. “Working with incoming international students has been a wonderful experience. The challenges that people from other countries face as they are coming to the U.S. to study are sometimes overwhelming, so it is a unique opportunity to help them meet these challenges.” He continues to serve prospective and incoming students as a part-time assistant in the Admissions Office, giving tours, returning phone calls and emails, and starting application files.
Joe plans to graduate in 2007 and pursue pastoral ministry as God leads. He and his wife Jennifer—also a Seminary employee and student—are expecting a child in December.