Theron League and his wife, Heather, have two sons—Parker (age 3) and Grayson (2 months old). Theron works at UPS and is a stay-at-home father while being a student at NTS. His projected graduation date is spring 2010. Upon graduation, Theron hopes to stay in the Kansas City area and pastor.
FAITHFUL TO THE CALL
How did you decide to attend NTS?
When I was 12 I answered a call to preach. My father was a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene and he told me that I should attend NTS after college. He was a Nazarene Bible College graduate, but he believed that NTS was the best place for me to train to be a pastor. Therefore, after college (Northwest Nazarene College, class of 1994) I headed to Kansas City to get my degree from NTS. But after a semester at NTS, I was dissillusioned. It seemed like what I was learning in the classrooms had little to do with real-life ministry. I decided to leave NTS.
I went into full-time ministry for 10 years, ministering in Illinois, Alaska, Ohio, and Texas. While in Texas, I realized that I had done as much as I could do in ministry without furthering my education. I began seeing my need to come back to NTS and finish my education. From my first class until now, I have learned so much. Having been in ministry for 10 years already, it has been easy to see how relevant each class is to the ministry.
Aside from the coursework and studies themselves, what about NTS has most positively impacted you?
I would have to say my friendships with other students have most positively impacted me. There have been many opportunities for my friends and me to minister to one another during the course of my studies here. My friends have challenged me to walk more faithfully with God, to question some of my pre-existing biases, and to study more diligently. We all come from many different backgrounds. It has been good for me to be able to dialogue with people who have a different perspective about ministry. It has really helped me to understand my own philosophy of ministry.
How is your time at NTS shaping or re-shaping your call?
My time here at NTS has helped me to understand how I can be used by God in His kingdom. I came to NTS with the idea that when I finished I would send out résumés around the country and see where God would call me to move in order that I might minister. However, I have found that God calls us to minister where we are. There is so much that needs to be done whereever we might be. We simply need to look at what we have and how we can be available for God’s use. He will show us the needs right where we are.
In what ways is NTS helping prepare you to be faithful and effective in day-to-day ministry?
NTS is preparing me to be faithful and effective in everyday ministry through the courses that I have taken, my relationships with the professors, and my relationships with other students. Some of the courses have particularly helped me to see what is important in ministry. The professors have challenged and encouraged me in my thinking about the church and ministry. And through my friendships, which I expect will last for a lifetime, I am developing my own understanding of what I need to be doing in ministry.
What advice would you give to anyone who feels a call to ministry and is considering attending NTS?
I would tell them, “Don’t get so excited about doing ministry that you fail to properly prepare for it.” NTS will help you not only by giving you more “tools in your ministry toolbelt,” but it will help you by teaching you how to ask better questions about life, Scripture, God, the church, and ministry, and it will show you where to find good answers for those questions.
Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share about your time at NTS?
I want to thank God for taking care of me and my family while here at NTS. When my wife, Heather, and I moved to Kansas City, neither of us were employed. We came on faith that God would provide. Within 24 hours we both had jobs and God continued to take care of us as our family grew larger. We look forward to seeing what He has in store for us during the rest of our time at NTS and beyond.
In March, NTS led a group of about 50 people (alumni, students, staff, faculty and friends) on a Holy Land Pilgrimage. Jamie Sharpe, an NTS student and staff member, went on the pilgrimage. She shared:
“There are many scenes from this experience that I will never forget: reading scripture together in humble meditation the night before traversing the Via Dolorosa; our dialogue in the ‘upper room,’ communion within the garden near an empty tomb. Travelling with colleagues, scholars, professors, and precious friends made it a true pilgrimage–an excursion into history, an exploration of the holy, an embodiment of the sacred, an opportunity to worship and learn in ways often talked about but rarely experienced. I will never be the same!”
You are invited to visit www.nts.edu/nts-holy-land-pilgrimage to read the reflections of Wendie Wells, a member of the NTS Class of 2009 who also traveled to Israel.
Instead of a traditional preteen retreat, we created a weekend for preteens to stop from the business of life and simply focus on prayer. We intended to help preteens to discover that prayer can be more than a one-dimensional style; it has unlimited forms. We desired to help preteens connect to the idea that prayer can embody their way of life. We structured the weekend around the Lord’s Prayer and developed 16 distinct prayer stations. Styles of prayer included were visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and silent. To help create this atmosphere of prayer, we provided activities and items such as pottery, icons, global issues, prayer beads, postures, music, and silence. The response was overwhelming as each preteen found specific ways to engage in prayer that were meaningful for his or her own personality.
Children and Families Pastor
Central Church of the Nazarene in Lenexa, KS;
Kansas City First Church of the Nazarene in Kansas City, MO;
Bonner Springs Church of the Nazarene in Bonner Springs, KS; and
Associate Pastor of Children
Shawnee Church of the Nazarene in Shawnee, KS.