Heeding the Call to Ministry

The Master of Theological Studies program at Grebel draws students from a variety of backgrounds and faith traditions. Two current students, Kathryn Cressman and Laurel Rounds Fretz, both felt a gradual pull toward ministry within their home churches.

“Through volunteer work at my church and reflecting upon the energy I felt after leading in various capacities, I decided to consider ministry,” explained Kathryn. (Pictured above.)

“I have been drawn to ministry since I was a teenager active in my United Church,” reflected Laurel (pictured below), “but high school guidance counselors don’t push you in that direction.” 

Both Kathryn and Laurel found joy and purpose serving in progressively larger leadership roles at their churches. “I have been involved on various committees at Nith Valley Mennonite Church,” noted Kathryn. “Since starting my MTS degree, my confidence has grown in my biblical knowledge and excitement to share what I’m learning.” Kathryn also completed a Supervised Experience in Ministry placement at her church which allowed her to “test the waters of ministry in a safe and familiar place.” 

Laurel“I was very active in church as a youth sponsor and song leader at Bloomingdale Mennonite Church,” shared Laurel. “Then I took on worship leader duties and offered some meditations.” Both women have started writing sermons and continue to participate in worship planning.  

“I have learned a lot about myself and felt affirmed in a call to some sort of ministry. I have felt encouraged to be creative in what that could look like,” said Kathryn, who has just a few courses left to take. “It has been very valuable to study the Old and New Testaments, as well as taking an exegesis course, to have a stronger biblical foundation.”

“I see a formal ministry role in my future at some point,” added Kathryn. “While the MTS degree may not be put to use career-wise right away, it will be helpful for my lay-leadership and my own personal faith growth.”

With plans to become a pastor or work with seniors in a chaplaincy position, Laurel is at the beginning of her degree and especially looks forward to learning pastoral care skills. “It is not a skill that is easily learned in a lay capacity.”

Both women expressed initial apprehension about returning to school after a break, but quickly discovered that their enjoyment of the course content and the practical aspects of the MTS program at Grebel have made for a rewarding experience.