Yesterday I came home from the last course I have to take to finish my MA in Theology from Columbia International University. I’ve been taking courses there for longer than I care to admit, and I’m relieved and excited to have endured this long to finish.

CIU’s extension program requires all participants to take at least 50% of their classes on campus. These courses are usually taken in the winter or the summer as intensive, week-long courses. Despite the travel cost and scheduling problems, I love this option.

I was sitting with a group of my classmates on Friday at lunch, and we started talking about how Seminary classes at CIU were similar to summer camp. I had an eight hour drive staring me in the face, and I still was happy to squeeze an extra 45 minutes into my time there. I think I’ve figured out why.

Being at CIU is a time to be with like-minded individuals. We are all involved somewhat in ministry leadership positions. Our time at CIU, despite being mentally exhausting because of 8 hour class days also gives us time to no longer be in our ministry positions. We are just “the guy I sit next to in class.” It’s great to step out of a leadership role and become just another guy. It’s exciting to hear what God is doing in the lives of other people. And it is definitely exciting to sit with some of the greatest academic minds in different fields.

I’m glad my last week is over, but I know I will miss the week-long trips to Columbia, South Carolina. Those times will be fondly remembered, along with the friends I’ve made during my time there. Who knows…maybe I’ll keep studying…just for the fun of it.