Mark Thometz was not a star student during his years at Boise Bible College and says he didn’t see the value of school during his undergraduate years.

“But now I have a different perspective,” he says. “After two years as a youth minister and eight more as a lead pastor, I knew I needed to grow and learn. I chose Johnson’s Master of Arts in New Testament, and it’s been life-changing. When I chose the spiritual formation concentration, I didn’t know much about the spiritual disciplines. Now my final project is on the power of preaching and practicing these disciplines. I’ve grown in my faith through this program.”

Mark, who serves at First Christian Church of Yucca Valley (CA), says he’s not only earning good grades during this phase of his education, he’s also approaching the process differently.

“I want to learn things I can pass on to other people,” he says. “In one of our classes, Jody Owens talked about being cisterns instead of ravines—blessing people from the overflow of our own walk with Christ. That’s my goal.”

Mark will graduate from the program in May – and has already been accepted to a doctoral program at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology.