"Thank you for taking such a huge leap of faith...The seeds that donors are sowing now will have a ripple effect."

[caption id="attachment_701" align="aligncenter" width="214" caption="The Hagan Family"]The Hagans[/caption]  

Ebb Hagan, 40, is a first-year M. Div student at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ. He and his wife, Emily, have three young children: Gaston (7), Mallory (6), and Stefan (3). Ebb recently took a few moments to reflect on his calling to ministry.

My accepting God’s call into ministry was a very long process. I first considered ordained ministry in my teens and many times after before finally accepting my call in 2009. I feel that the timing was impeccable because I had matured spiritually to the point that I felt excited about being a servant to the body of Christ. My wife, Emily, was at peace with the decision at that time as well. With the acceptance of a call into ordained ministry affecting the whole family, that was key. I had always wanted to go back to school and formally study theology and the history of the early church. So in that sense, giving up my "career" to return to seminary was a dream come true! On a more practical level, having a wife and three kids necessitates working full-time. This made the decision to go to seminary full-time very difficult. Ultimately we decided to trust God and take the necessary leap of faith. We have not regretted it at all. God is good. The initial decision to go to seminary was easy…then I started researching schools and the costs associated with attendance! As stated earlier, with a family that is an even tougher decision. I really had to pray and discern whether or not I was truly being called. I feel that God most assuredly laid it on my heart that I was being called. From a worldly view people might think that it was an insane decision, but with the blessed assurance of Christ, we know that it is not. I have said it many times before and will say it again: if a seminarian has to worry less about where the money will come from to pay a utility bill, rent, children’s clothing, etc. it allows that student to focus more on ministerial preparation. It is comforting to know that you are not on this journey alone. We found out that I had been accepted into the Stegall Foundation soon after I was accepted into Princeton. It was an answer to prayer and a huge relief! It gave me a great pride to have been raised in the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference. To know that such faithful Christians are behind you is an immeasurable comfort. I would like to say "thank you" to each donor for taking such a huge leap of faith! It is a commitment equal to the one that I am taking as a seminarian. There are so many ways of serving Christ and we will always be connected in this wonderful journey The seeds that the donors are sowing now will have a ripple effect. By making it easier for a person to make the very difficult decision of going to seminary, your contribution will not only help the students at that time, but also subsequent generations of Christians served by that minister. It is the parable of the mustard seed in real life! The gift being given is of so much more importance than the value of the money at the time.