Rev. Matthew Ingram first sensed his calling as a teenager, and after nearly a decade of running from the call, he decided to enroll in seminary. He originally attended a seminary in Alabama where the people looked a lot like him. He reflected, “If that’s what God wants me to be, I don’t think I can be that.” An extended period of soul-searching led him to Memphis Theological Seminary, seeking a richly diverse environment in which to receive theological education. He was eager for exposure to a wide variety of ideas, to learn among people from other denominations, and to prepare to ministry among people from many different backgrounds. While at MTS, Ingram most appreciated the diversity in his classes. He loved hearing others’ stories, which challenged many of the assumptions he previously had. He appreciated how the learning environment at MTS hospitably welcomed students to share their stories without feeling judged or outcast. Students formed a true community.
Ingram also enjoyed his classes, particularly his bible classes, which exposed him to new, formative ways to encounter the text. MTS gave him fresh eyes to experience the revelation of God through the biblical text throughout Christian history and in the present. Ingram now pastors Greensburg Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Kentucky. MTS has prepared him well for this charge, and he’s regularly using what he learned in seminary to lead his congregation. MTS prepared him to empathize with people who are different from him and to facilitate healing across those divides. He’s able to guide them in new ways of encountering the biblical text, paying particular attention to what Jesus does, to imagine new ways of being the hands and feet of Christ in their community and beyond. To those considering seminary education, Ingram offered: “It really doesn’t matter where you’ve come from or what troubles you’ve had in your life. If you feel God calling you into ministry, Memphis Theological Seminary can in a very real way prepare you for that without trying to change you into something you’re not.” MTS equips students for ministry, celebrating the unique ways God has created and called each student, and collaborating with students to create degree plans which serve their vocational callings in their ministry contexts.