The WEST Institute Blog
Connecting The Head To The Heart
By: Aaron Hulbert, 2017 Graduate
God called me into ministry in 2006. I was 26-years-old and full of youthful ignorance. I stumbled around ministry, had a lot of failures, but God was always good. I knew I needed more training so I began to attend a distance learning seminary. It was tough; though God used it, I could not finish, and felt like the theology was not connecting with actual, live ministry. I realized there was a disconnect between the head and the heart. What I was learning was great, but I was not learning how to apply it to ministry or my own life! I stopped attending seminary and almost gave up on the idea of seminary all together.
Life continued to roll on. I married, had children and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming. My new position was bi-vocational. As a husband, new father, and bi-vocational employee, I thought the chance of seminary had passed me by. However, my Elder Board and Senior Pastor encouraged me to pursue more formal training. I knew I didn't want to try my hand at distance learning again. I wanted something that would connect my head and my heart. I needed a seminary that would encourage me to live out the knowledge I was gaining.
In 2015 I started at The West Institute. My first day of class we went rock climbing. I had always wanted to climb, but had only been on indoor walls. This was a first for me and very exciting. I made it to the top, higher than I had ever been on an indoor wall. Then Jimmy yelled the instructions to descend. I had to trust a guy I had just met, lean back and hope I would not fall!
God has used The West to equip me to do the work of the ministry. God used my time at The West to connect my head and my heart. Not only did I gain biblical knowledge, I learned how to live that knowledge out. Not only did I learn better ways to study the Bible, I gained a renewed thirst for God's Word.
Through my time at The West and connecting with professors, I found a new confidence that I have never had in ministry. I thought I would always be a youth pastor because I love students. While at The West, God revealed that He was calling me to a Senior Pastor position in Flagstaff, Arizona. At The West, I learned more than just head knowledge, I learned to lean back and trust God! Had it not been for The West, I would have never leaned back and fallen into the trustworthy arms of God with this new move in my life.
I am in my first month as a solo pastor. I hit the ground running, preaching, teaching, and rebuilding a church that was on the brink of closing. I am using the skills I learned at The West to minister here in Flagstaff, but even more importantly, I am using the skills I learned at The West to continue to grow in Christ!
Senior Pastor - Calvary Bible Church