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Brandon Hanks, Master of Divinity

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Brandon Hanks
(Master of Divinity)

BrandonI find great comfort in knowing that the gifts of God are irrevocable--that God is faithful even if we are faithless. My faith journey begins with the Church of the Brethren. I was raised in the church by my family going to Sunday school and attending worship each week. But as a teenager I found myself struggling in my understanding of the word of God. I wanted to own my faith. I wanted it to be a real and genuine confession, not one merely adopted through my family's tradition. It was during that time of exploration that God revealed my calling as a minister in God's church.

However, I could not accept the weight of my calling at that point. I instead decided to find another career. In the end, I answered the call to ministry after years of discernment and wrestling with God. It was a process. It took time. Fortunately for me, God never changed. The only person who changed was me. I simply agreed to God's will, not mine. I surrendered to God and entered ministry in the Church of the Brethren. There was only one problem. I was untrained. I recognized that my gifts given by the Holy Spirit needed to be wisely nurtured. I considered several seminaries but found only one school that had an openness and humility before God, and a desire to train servants in mind and heart: Bethany Theological Seminary. So I quit my job, relocated to Richmond, and enrolled at Bethany for the glory of Jesus Christ.

John Smith
(MDiv Connections)

classMy wife Barbara and I first visited Bethany in June 2009. After spending two days meeting with faculty and staff I returned home even more uncertain. Did I really want to devote the time this program required? Was I willing to learn computer skills that didn't even exist when I finished college in 1972? Was I willing to make the eight-hour drive that would occasionally be necessary? Was this really what God was calling me to do at this time in my life? From the very beginning, I came as I am, but went not as I came. Little did I know how this Bethany tag line would time and time again ring true for my educational experience.