I defended my dissertation yesterday, and PASSED!
It is PhinisheD!
This event marks the end of a 21 year journey. My Dad and I visited the Bethel Seminary campus and met with Dr. Clark to discuss entry into the In-Ministry program in the summer of 1994. We lived in Vegas and were visiting my parents to show off our tiny little Micki, only a month old. I had a wide-eyed dream to be able to teach college and help people grow in the love and grace of God.
Since that day I have journeyed side by side with many wonderful people. It started while I worked for Fasen Arts. Steve Fasen graciously allowed me–for two years–to share my attention with his business, the church, and school. I walked 8 years with Central Christian Church while completing my M.Div. at Bethel Seminary, ((two of those years still in Fasen Arts, in case you’re doing the math)) 5 years with Hart Haus while teaching at Bethany University ((neither of these entities exist any more)) in Las Vegas, 3 years floundering with Spot Studios while we transitioned to Minnesota, and 5 years journeying with Grace Lutheran Church while completing my PhD in Missional Leadership at Luther Seminary.
Thank you to my wife, Lona, for sticking with me and encouraging me every step of the way. Thank you to my children–Jamin, Micki, Ethan, and Leah–for not getting too annoyed when I went on theological rants. Thank you to my parents for supporting us SO MUCH in so many ways. Thank you to the members of these three congregations for loving, supporting, encouraging, and making this process financially possible. And thank you to Dr. Craig Van Gelder for advising me through the PhD course work, and to Dr. Mary Hess for being a wonderful thesis advisor who empowered me get to this moment.
And now, as my first official post as The Reverend Doctor Steven Paul Thomason M.Div. Ph.D., I launch this chapter of my life with the same life verse that has been my prayer for you as we continue to journey together.
“And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight; to help you determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)