Director of Austin Seminary’s Program of Formation in Ministry prepares pastors by first shaping the person
The Rev. Dr. David Johnson, director of the Program of Formation in Ministry at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, helps students discern their sense of calling and commitment to the church.
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Austin Seminary at a Glance
100 East 27th St.
Austin, Texas 78705
Students: 186 (182 FTE)
Faculty: 16 full-time, 11 part-time
Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry Practice, Doctor of Ministry
Education Beyond the Walls, College of Pastoral Leaders, International Travel Seminars, AYAVA House
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian Reformed tradition. Its mission is to educate and equip individuals for ordained Christian ministry and other forms of service and leadership. The seminary employs its resources in the service of the church, promoting and engaging in critical theological thought and research. It endeavors to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.
History and Location
Austin Seminary was founded in 1902 to provide pastors for the rapidly growing Presbyterian Church in the frontier Southwest. Today the seminary hosts more than 300 students from across the United States, preparing them for ministries throughout the nation and world.
Deep in the heart of the capital city of Texas, Austin Seminary enjoys the cultural, intellectual and recreational benefits of its location. Austin is not only a regional center for arts, music, theater and literature, but is also home to the University of Texas — now the largest university in the nation — which provides students and faculty with rich opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue and exchange. The seminary experience is further enriched by its proximity to Mexico and to the nearby Texas Hill Country, where a vast system of parks and lakes provides myriad recreational opportunities.
What programs does Austin Seminary offer?
Offerings at Austin Seminary include Master of Arts, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees and many educational opportunities for non-degree students. The curriculum places an emphasis on biblical studies and practical experience in ministry. January travel seminars, financially subsidized for all students, allow participants to discover the gospel in other cultures and contexts.
At Austin Seminary, theological education has always been guided by a strong commitment to the church. Here, a serious approach to learning is tempered by warmth and good humor. Visionary academic inquiry is informed by practical experience in ministry in mission. A Christian spirit of collegiality and openness to dialogue is prevalent in classrooms and among faculty.
Pastor helps Auburn Seminary equip bold and resilient church leaders
Rev. J. C. Austin, director of The Center for Christian Leadership at Auburn Theological Seminary, uses skills he gained in the parish to help the seminary equip church leaders to better serve.
Meet Austin students: Scott and Cody Sandahl
Scott Sandahl, father of Cody Sandahl, graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in May 2007. Scott was ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament and installed as pastor of St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas, on June 10. But just a few short years ago, Scott wasn’t sure it was in God’s plans for him to be a pastor.
“The only thing I knew was that I was supposed to do something in the church, other than being a pastor,” Scott said. “Because it just seemed ludicrous that God would want me to be a pastor.”
Cody, on the other hand, had been trying to get into seminary since high school.
“Coming to the seminary or being a pastor has been kind of in the back of my mind pretty much as long as I can remember,” Cody said.
Scott feels their unique experience — attending seminary together — has been a good one.
“I have to tell you, though, one of my biggest blessings at the seminary has been having Cody here, for several reasons,” Scott said. “I think we’ve gotten closer and we’ve bonded. As I like to tell people, we see each other in the halls and he gives me a hug instead of darting down another hallway.”
Since his dad graduated, Cody has gotten married — his wife’s name is Becca. Cody will graduate from Austin Seminary in May 2009. As of April 2008, he had only his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) left for credits toward graduation. Cody plans to do his CPE at Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas.
Scott has now been pastor of St. John’s for nearly a year. “It has been challenging and rewarding,” he said. “I am finding that my seminary education left me theologically sound and able to articulate what we believe and stand for.”