‘To God Be The Glory!’
(Dr. Karl K. Stegall) – One of my favorite hymns in the United Methodist Hymnal is that great old hymn (No. 98) that contains the lyrics, “TO GOD BE THE GLORY, GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE!” Those words keep ringing in my ears this spring as I reflect upon how our Seminary Scholarship Foundation has grown for 256 consecutive months. The true beneficiaries have been the seminary students from our Alabama-West Florida Conference!
People give as they understand! As more and more of the “people called Methodists” all across the Alabama-West Florida Conference understand the plight of our seminary students, they are saying to me “We can do better than this! We want to help!”
While we celebrate that we have recently increased our minimum cash scholarship to each student to $4,000 a year, we are still mindful that it costs over $40,000 a year to attend seminary. Some of our seminary students with loans totaling over $50,000 will be graduating this May, and a few of these will be appointed to churches paying minimum salaries of $36,500 a year.
Let us always remember that these are OUR students, products of OUR CHURCHES and will one day be OUR pastors, baptize OUR BABIES, officiate at OUR weddings, preach from OUR pulpits, provide pastoral care for OUR families, and offer words of comfort to OUR loved ones at OUR funerals. It is not inconceivable that the seminary student for whom you provide financial assistance will one day show up at the front door of your church or your home as your new pastor. I can think of no greater investment you can make than investing in the life of someone preparing for a lifetime of service to Jesus Christ and the church as an ordained minister!