Skip to main contentSkip to main navigationSkip to footer content
the Covenant experience narrative

The Blue Tribune is your place to learn about all things Covenant and keep up with stories from campus and beyond. By guiding you through the different aspects of Covenant, we'll help you decide if you want to pursue your very own Covenant experience.

Aspiring for Vocational Ministry While Being an English Major

students embracing while singing in covenant's chapel service

My story of coming to Covenant has been untraditional compared to the average student. I applied to Covenant while finishing up my fourth year in the Coast Guard. When enlisting into the Coast Guard, I did not envision myself getting out and going back to school, let alone wanting to pursue some kind of vocational ministry. 

Love of Literature

There were many loves that developed in me while I was serving in the Coast Guard. One of those loves was for literature and for books. It was Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky that captured me as I sat on my roommate's blue couch. That book whose pages became more ragged as it traveled with me from duty to off-duty alongside a growing collection of books by C.S. Lewis captured my mind and heart with beauty that I never knew existed.

Love of People

One of those other loves that developed more keenly over time was the love of people. While in Cape May, NJ, stationed in a fire department, I grew to love the guys I served with. Nothing in the job compared with getting to be with these men. I discovered that I was more similar than different. I found the two-part truth that we were all both sufferers and sinners.

Collision of Two Loves

These two loves—my love of literature and story and my love of people—coincided with an interest in pursuing ministry as a vocation. I was fairly set on going to seminary as soon as possible, but then I discovered Covenant College. A wise mentor at the time recommended that I slow down in my urgency in pursuing seminary and let the “calling” of ministry be tried and developed a bit more. In that wisdom, I sought to find a solid place to be tried and test this aspiration of mine. Covenant made sense, so I submitted an application and six months later moved into Carter Hall. 

I chose English as a major from the start because I was hungry to read and figured it could help me write a better paper in seminary if that was something that was still clear to me. Following that hunch to study English has been one of the best decisions I have made. Studying American literature, Shakespeare, and cross-cultural literature have all been fuel to my love for people and interest in ministry.

There has not been an English class where we have not discussed one of the following:

  • Depression, bleakness, and gloom
  • Death, struggle of suicide, and loss of all kinds
  • Suffering, grief, and tragedy
  • Purpose and purposelessness
  • Truth and doubt
  • Beauty and joy
  • Culture
  • Racism
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Sin, regret, and remorse
  • Redemption and resurrection

A Heart of Compassion and Empathy

What do all these things have in common? People and ministry. I have developed a more nuanced perspective of life and people because of the impact of my education at Covenant. Dr. Macallister and Dr. Tate have shaped my heart in profound ways to see people as Christ sees people. Literature, in a way, has given me hundreds of “case studies” to help me think about others and grow in me a heart of compassion and empathy. 

When I was seventeen going into the Coast Guard, I would never have thought that I would go back to school or love literature. I am now in my third year at Covenant and still an aspiring pastor, but I have learned more and more during my time here that the vocation and call of ministry is much larger and bigger than I thought. It is part of the beauty of the Reformed perspective that God cares about “every square inch” of the world and He calls it His. That includes the ragged book of Crime and Punishment still on my shelf and the firehouse that shaped my heart just as much as Covenant has.

Connect with us