When Adam Wilson expresses amazement at the journey that brought him from Cedar Falls, Iowa to Los Angeles and The Master’s Seminary, he isn’t using the word journey as a metaphor. He is actually talking about the trip across country the first week of August, 2022. That’s when Adam wrapped up a summer of ministry at a camp in Missouri and immediately began the drive to California. In Colorado, Adam’s car started rattling and he sensed he was losing control. He managed to steer the failing car through heavy traffic until he was off the highway. A few yards from the exit ramp, Adam discovered that his brake caliper had fallen off. If he had stayed in traffic a minute longer, he would have been stuck on a fast-moving highway with no brakes.
“[My father and I] took the car to a nearby dealership where a mechanic tells us we’re lucky to be alive” Adam says. “During a recent service appointment, someone had failed to tighten the bolts on our brakes We could have easily found ourselves driving on a busy highway in Colorado with no brakes.”
Because of the delay in Colorado, Adam did not arrive in Southern California until 4:00 a.m. the first day of orientation at The Master’s Seminary. After a quick nap, he began to meet his new classmates, professors, and staff. Despite the physical exhaustion, Adam was energized.
“I knew right away that this was the place I was supposed to be” Adam said. “I immediately met some awesome people and was so thankful that this was where I was going to train for ministry.”
Protection through a mechanical failure was added to an already long list of God’s providences that have made it clear that The Master’s Seminary is where Adam is supposed to be. Adam grew up in a Christian home. His father served as a lay elder at their church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Lord saved Adam when he was nine years old, using the preaching at a summer camp to convict him of his need for God’s righteousness. After high school, Adam attended the University of Northern Iowa, intending to pursue a career in law enforcement. But as he became more and more involved with youth ministry at his church and the summer camp where he was saved (and was ministering the summer before enrolling at TMS), his desire for ministry began to outpace his interest in any other career. By his college graduation, Adam knew he needed seminary. But he wasn’t sure where. And he wasn’t sure there was still an opportunity to begin school that coming fall.
“I narrowed it down to two seminaries, TMS being one of them” Adam said. “And as I was looking at the other seminary, I began to sense that their statement of faith didn’t match what they were teaching. When I also saw the outcome of some students, I was confused, not sure what was going on there. So I called The Master’s Seminary in May, a little more than two months before the start of the new school year. I didn’t think there was any chance I could still apply and be accepted for the fall semester. But the counselor I spoke to encouraged me to apply. I also flew out to Los Angeles to visit the campus. That’s when I knew for sure that TMS was where I should be.”
Adam’s application was accepted in time, which was a wonderful surprise, but then he had to figure out how to afford seminary.
“On a whim, I put my name in for The MacArthur Trust Scholarship, not expecting anything to happen” Adam said. “But in June I got an email saying I had received the scholarship. I couldn’t believe it. I was so thankful.”
The MacArthur Trust Scholarship made seminary affordable. But there was still one major hurdle facing Adam as he prepared to move halfway across the country in a few weeks to attend The Master’s Seminary. Where was he going to live?
I looked at all kinds of apartments and had one in mind” Adam said. “I was literally ten minutes from signing a lease when the seminary emailed me. A room was available in a house where several seminary students lived. By God’s grace, I was able to move there and room with a couple of fellow students—godly guys that have become good friends. This was another instance of God’s kindness and providence, confirming that TMS is the place I should be.”
Without a scholarship and a place to live, Adam doesn’t know if he could have afforded to live in Southern California and attend seminary. And he knows that a lot of guys considering seminary are probably in the same position: unsure if a TMS education is financially feasible.
“I came from a small town in Iowa and was initially concerned about moving to one of the biggest cities in the country. I knew it was going to be expensive. But everyone at the school was so helpful” Adam said. “I just had to pick up the phone and call. There were scholarships and housing options that I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t reached out. All I had to do was go through the process, take the next step, and the Lord made the decision clear. His providence provided a path for me because I know he wanted me here at TMS. I know he’ll do the same for other guys considering seminary.”
Adam’s first semester was not without his challenges. He stayed busy, taking 15 units and working 20-25 hours a week. The classes stretched him. It always seemed like there weren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on his to-do list.
“I’m still trying to work through some areas where I need to be more disciplined” Adam said. “Seminary has a way of exposing any laziness or lack of efficiency. I’m looking forward to starting up again and figuring out how to better manage my time and balance work, study, ministry, and free time.”
As valuable as the class time has been, Adam says his education at TMS has gone beyond those 15 units. He’s involved in college ministry at Grace Community Church.
“Getting to know Austin [Duncan] in Crossroads and having a great community has definitely been a highlight” Adam said. “I know studying in the classroom and church is preparing me for whatever ministry the Lord has for me after seminary.”