After Calvin, I completed my M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Then I spent four years as associate pastor at Chillicothe Bible Church in Chillicothe, IL. I am currently the senior pastor of Whidbey Evangelical Free Church in Greenbank, WA.
Why did you choose to major in history at Calvin?
I originally chose my history major to pursue teaching at the secondary level. I later decided to rather go to seminary, but enjoyed the History Department so much that I stayed.
How did your time at Calvin prepare you for what you are doing now?
One of the best skills I learned and practiced at Calvin was how to do research. The research skills truly prepared me for graduate school. Other students came to me for help with their research. The paper writing that I did at Calvin prepared me for the papers I had to write in seminary. The document analysis that I learned in the history program has helped me greatly in my critical reading at the graduate level, and it also helps me in my sermon preparation and exegesis. Also, studying all the great thinkers and historical documents, specifically the Genevan Consistory minutes, enabled me to gain from their wisdom and experience, and helped me to be a good pastor and leader in the church.
What are some of your memories of the Calvin History department?
I remember the great banter between students and the professors. I enjoyed how open the professors were to students coming in and seeing them in their offices. They are very approachable. Most of the professors are willing to help the students with the work they had in class. I met with many professors during my time at Calvin, and I learned much from them. One of my favorite memories at Calvin was my History 394 class. This class was for the senior thesis for the program. The class was very small, which was nice, and there was great community and discussion formed in the class. We worked on our papers together, and we were able to learn from Prof. Maag but also from each other.
Do you have any advice for current students or those thinking of majoring in history at Calvin?
Get to know the professors. Ask questions in class and participate. The history department is big enough to offer many classes. Take the classes you want to take. The history department gives more choice than other departments. History is the king of all majors. Even if you are not sure what you want to do, a Calvin history degree prepares you for almost anything afterward.