From History Major to Pastoral Assistant

by   |   mrsidwel@bju.edu   |  
A low shot of an elegantly dressed man with a leather bag holding a Bible in his hand

You can’t squeeze Robert Horn into a mold. His busy life is practically bursting at the seams. Describing himself as a social person, he makes friends all around campus. But you can also find him in the campus library studying history. And he served as captain and chaplain of the BJU Bruins varsity basketball team.

Robert thrives on athletic competition. On the other hand, he easily channels some of his boundless enthusiasm into academics. His good grades twice earned him the NCCAA designation of Scholar-Athlete. The blessing of having all these interests, however, made it more difficult for Robert to decide on a major.

Majoring in History

During his sophomore year Robert started thinking about a career working with young people. Teaching was an obvious possibility, and history was his favorite subject. He decided on a history major and enjoyed taking classes that connected with the Bible, such as Ancient Near East and Greece and a class on the Reformation era. Courses such as Historiography strengthened his reading and writing skills, he says, and forced him to become a better student.

Those skills were invaluable while working on his senior capstone paper, a history of the BJU sports program. Combining the story of the sports program with raw data about the program was both challenging and rewarding.

In addition to taking history classes, Robert took Greek for his language requirement, adding to his Bible background. Thinking of teaching, he also picked up some coaching classes.

One of the most rewarding aspects of his college life, however, centered on his involvement with a local church. He volunteered to work with the young people. This experience was life-changing, he says, and he began to feel God’s call to the ministry.

Call to Ministry and Seminary

During Robert’s senior year, the church asked him to consider joining the staff after graduation as a full-time pastoral assistant. This offer was unexpected, and he made it a matter of prayer to seek God’s will.

When he was sure that God was leading him to this ministry, Robert accepted the offer. Yet he knew that he would need an advanced degree to continue in professional ministry. So now he’s also looking forward to attending BJU Seminary. Because he has already met the prerequisites for Greek and Bible, he can jump right into Seminary studies.

Seminary classes will allow Robert to advance his knowledge of biblical languages and Bible interpretation. He’ll study theology and work on sermon preparation under the guidance of experienced professors.

But how to fit graduate work into a full-time ministry schedule? Robert discovered he could take courses part-time while working full time at the church. Some classes he can take online and some are short module courses packed into a week or two on campus.

And his advice to students thinking about the history major? No matter what your major or career plans, he says, get involved in a local church!

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Mrs. Mary Sidwell is the Writing Center Coordinator in the Academic Resource Center at BJU.