Austin Has A New Seminary
Last March, my wife, Julianna, and I were planning a weekend trip to St. Louis to begin looking for places to live. We were about to move from Austin to St. Louis, so that I could begin a seminary degree at Covenant Seminary. My wife was going to quit her studies at UT, and I was going to quit my work at All Saints. In God's Providence, days before we were going to purchase our flight to St. Louis, I received an email from a friend informing me that a seminary was to be planted in Austin that coming fall. Despite the incredible education and community offered by Covenant Seminary, Julianna and I were drawn to the idea of continuing our education within the church and community of All Saints and Austin. I decided to become one of the seven first-time, full-time seminary students at Redeemer Seminary in Austin.
The granddaughter of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, and the daughter of Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Redeemer in Austin offers graduate-level theological education and exists to "extend the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ until that knowledge covers the earth as the waters cover the sea" (see Habakkuk 2:14).
"Our specific mission is to support the church in its mandate to equip the saints for ministry. We pursue this mission in three ways. First, we seek to form men for ordained gospel ministry as pastors, teachers, evangelists, missionaries, and other tasks specified by the church. Second, we seek to train men and women to serve Christ in kingdom ministries other than those that require ordination. Third, we seek to serve as a center for Christian research and scholarship and to communicate the fruits of our labors to the church and the world."
As someone pursuing ordained ministry, I am benefitting from the first missional goal, and I pray that Redeemer Seminary's presence in Austin will benefit both All Saints members and Austin with all three of these missional goals.
As you might imagine, being a young start-up seminary has its challenges: many of the professors currently drive down from Dallas or are teach via tele-conference; the student body is small (though the size has exceeded expectations); and there is currently only part-time administration. But, it has been a blessing for us students who were considering leaving this city for theological training and it will continue to be a blessing for Austin to have an evangelical seminary in Austin and for us to study under outstanding professors like Sinclair Ferguson, Skip Ryan, and Paul Tripp—all part of the Austin faculty this fall.
If you are interested in learning more about the seminary, you can do so at their website. Classes meet on Redeemer Presbyterian Church's new campus near Manor and Alexander Avenue. Anyone may audit a course for $100/class, and deacons and elders may audit a class for free.
It is exciting to be a part of a new local seminary that trains pastors, equips leaders for full time ministry, and thus benefits the whole community. We are currently in the midst of a one year trial run to see if the Redeemer Austin campus can be viable in the long term. The Austin campus is on track in terms of full-time students (though we welcome more and you can apply for full or part time status for the Spring), but for this first year, we need to raise $120,000 (enough money to hire a full time staff member and professor for the Austin location).
In a city whose identity is so closely linked to higher education, a Reformed seminary with a top notch pedigree (Westminster itself was born out of Princeton) represents a tremendous academic, cultural, and spiritual asset. Our participation in and support of Redeemer seminary is an investment in the spiritual future of Austin and central Texas, one we hope will pay big dividends in the years to come through the expansion of God’s kingdom in our community.
If you would like to be more involved in the process, please feel free to email myself (firstname.lastname@example.org), Paul Pearson (Paul@Pearson-Properties.com), or Redeemer Seminary's Austin representative Tim Sharp (email@example.com).