Is God calling you to Christian ministry? The purpose of pre-ministry advising at High Point University is to assist any student considering some form of ministry as a vocation, offering a number of activities and resources to support students’ theological exploration of ministry. In addition, HPU has several ordained ministers and lay leaders among its faculty and administration who are happy to engage in conversations with students about the many paths into ministry and about the sacrifices and rewards of a life of ministry.
But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”—Jeremiah 1:7-8
The call to ministry is profound and identity-shaping, but many who have experienced such a calling describe it as more of a process than a sudden burst of clarity. Embarking on the vocation of ministry often involves a journey of discernment in which not only prayer and personal reflection play a role, but also friendship, mentoring, and community encouragement, as well as rigorous theological inquiry.
High Point University has a long tradition of successfully preparing students for graduate theological education and for lives of ministry. Recent graduates have gone on to some of the country’s best seminaries and divinity schools, including Asbury Theological Seminary, Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Duke Divinity School, Harvard Divinity School, Moravian Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Wake Forest Divinity School, and Wesley Theological Seminary.
Some students prepare by doing, taking up ministry positions in local churches, campus ministries, or mission organizations during their time at HPU. Students also have many opportunities to learn about various graduate theological programs and about what those programs look for in their incoming students. And all HPU students receive a strong liberal arts education that lays the groundwork for further theological study.
For current local church employment, internship, or volunteer opportunities, contact the Pre-Ministry Advisor, Dr. Chris Franks.
One good way to get an overview of graduate school options for ministry is to peruse the website of the Association of Theological Schools.
Also, be aware of our biannual Theological Career Fair, which brings representatives of numerous seminaries and divinity schools to our campus in the Fall of every even numbered year.
Further, the pre-ministry advisor has resources to enable students to visit seminaries they are considering attending.
The pre-ministry advisor is Dr. Chris Franks (firstname.lastname@example.org).
One of the goals of Pre-Ministry Advising at HPU is to foster community and connections that can support pre-ministerial students on their journey. These connections cannot replace the foundation, formation, and direction one finds through participation in a local church, but they provide many avenues for involvement in Christian leadership, theological study and reflection, worship, devotion, and service.
To see a current list of ministry-related groups to get involved with, check out the HPU Campus Ministries page.
Rev. Preston Davis, Minister to the University
Rev. Dr. Chris Franks, Owen D. and Mattie Holt Macpherson Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Department Chair, and Pre-Ministry Advisor
Rev. Tony Kindred, Sports Chaplain
Dr. Robert Moses, Associate Professor of Religion
Rev. Dr. Al Ward, Clergy in Residence
Rev. Andria Williamson, Manager of Chapel Programs
HPU alumni are serving in ministry in a wide variety of settings in many places far and near. These alumni provide a valuable resource for current students to make connections and to learn about some of the paths that may lie ahead of them. Occasional events bring such alumni back to campus. Here is what some of our most recent grads have to say about their experience at HPU:
“The Pre-Ministry group at High Point University has helped to guide and support me throughout my four years. Coming into college, I was very glad to have the support of the advisor, Rev. Dr. Chris Franks, as I embarked on my academic study. His mentorship has been critical in helping me learn and grow. Serving at Open Door Ministries and diving into various books and writings of religious figures have given me a space to reflect on my call to ministry and reflect on spiritual writings without worrying about writing a paper or comprehending perspectives for a test. I’m also grateful for some of the trips I’ve taken with Pre-Ministry and how they have expanded my perspective and helped me make connections which have been crucial for me as I follow my calling into pastoral ministry. At the heart of all of these opportunities, Pre-Ministry has been grounding for me, giving me an opportunity to reflect spiritually and vocationally as I worked through the academic and social challenges of college. I am truly grateful for how the Pre-Ministry group has given me a space of rest and support as I’ve looked toward my future vocation.”
Jacob Lancaster, HPU’20 (current student at Duke Divinity School)
“Being a part of the pre-ministry group at HPU gave me a meaningful community to not only discuss theology, but what faithful response to heartbreaking world events looks like in addition to how I might live into God’s call on my life. Through mentorship, friendship, impactful conversations and Christian community, my call to attend seminary and vow to be the hands and feet of God was affirmed.”
Tiffany Jones, HPU ’17 (recent M.Div. graduate of Vanderbilt Divinity School)
“My time spent on the campus of High Point University has been incredibly influential in the life of my ministry, and as a current Student Pastor at Duke Divinity School. Through the enlightening environment built out of a diverse faith community, I was able to find an encouraging group of students and faculty that served as a starting line to my ever-growing understanding of faith, grace and love in the bustling student body of a terrific university. The experiences gained through the multitude of memories made will not be soon forgotten and will forever play an important role in how I minister to the world.”
Nathan Webb, HPU’16 (recent M.Div. graduate of Duke Divinity School)
“High Point University, and particularly the faculty of the Religion department, have been instrumental in my educational and theological journey. It gave me the passion to combine my faith with my studies, it allowed me to engage the community in meaningful ways through Service Learning courses, and it helped me to grow in my faith as I navigated college. The amazing faculty, courses, and guidance I received at HPU have allowed me to grow as a student and as a person as I continue along the path God has called me to.”
Mary Kyner, HPU’16 (current student at Princeton Theological Seminary)
Education for ministry can be expensive, and funding is often a significant concern for pre-ministry students. There are many organizations and communities that want to help. Here at HPU, we have a number of endowed scholarships associated with the Chapel and with the Religion & Philosophy Department, many of which are earmarked for pre-ministry students. Other HPU scholarships are also available for qualified HPU students.
If you are United Methodist, you can participate in the United Methodist Dollars for Scholars program. Your local church contributes a $1000 scholarship to your education, and that $1000 turns into up to $4000 when it is matched by the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation, High Point University, and a participating United Methodist conference foundation.
Here is a link to some scholarships particularly for United Methodists from the Western North Carolina Conference: Foundation of Western NC Scholarships.
An important source of funding outside HPU for anyone considering ministry is The Fund for Theological Education.
Many denominational organizations and church bodies offer financial assistance to students considering ministry.