Back when Jonah was just a toddler, Dan started the long process of getting his D.Min from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Tonight, he is completing the final stages before writing his Project Report that is due by August 15 for a December graduation. This has been a long process for him and for our family. He took all of his course work in record speed. He did in 1 year what it takes most people 2-3 years to complete. We felt sure he would finish his Doctorate in less than the recommended time. Then, a church in DeLand, Florida called and everything started moving in slow motion.
The program requires you take one year off anytime you move to a different place of ministry. We thought that was a little crazy until we got here and realized that honestly, a year should be minimum. A couple of years off would have been a much better idea. It is almost impossible to be in a new place of service and focus on anything but that place. So, getting back in the groove of things was difficult. But, whether you are working on school or not, you still send them money every two months. So, with each $1300 check I wrote, the motivation factor kicked up a bit.
Last year, Dan worked on it as he could but there were so many pressing church issues and of course, time with his family that took precedence. He submitted his first draft to the reader in early 2012 and it came back with lots of revision suggestions and corrections. He got those done then but then the project went to a standstill. He still needed to develop what needed to be done for this church that would be his project. After much debate, he settled on one of the most pressing issues he sees here. That was the need for a New Member Class to help assimilate new members into the body of Stetson Baptist Church.
In early 2013, he checked the requirements for a December, 2013 graduation only to discover the entire project needed to be completed with the paper written and the first draft in by August 15. So, he got to work. He spent many hours at our dining room table after putting the boys to bed. Just this week, he worked until 2 and 3 a.m. several nights all the while doing his regular church job and daddy/husband duties. (The guy has an amazing work ethic!)
Part of his project is to train a group of key church leaders to teach a class to assimilate new members into the body. That class is tonight and tomorrow. A very special group (12-15 people) agreed to give up 8-10 hours of their weekend to participate in this class and then evaluate it. Their participation is key to the project. The people involved can not be paid staff members or family. So, my responsibility is food! Two ladies from church have helped me prepare meals, cut fruit, make lists, get snacks and keep those people fed.
After the class is over, Dan will begin the final writing phase with hopes of submitting his first draft to his reader by August 1. The deadline is August 15 so if he makes August 1, we will be thrilled. Honestly, the end is finally in sight. Graduation seems like a real possibility. I'm so proud of him for persevering when it would have been easier to just be done. Weeks like this one where he worked 15-16 hour days then came home and worked several more hours just prove to me what a dedicated man he is.
December 14 seems like a very real date now. When you read this, pray for him in the rush to the end. He has about a month to do some serious writing. Typically, he would just take a few vacation days to finish but things at the church are especially busy right now. I know he would appreciate you praying for him.