Scott Linton had been working as a grant contractor for the Naval Logistics Command for a dozen years, and for the first time in his career, things were really falling into place.
“I was in a place where I probably could have continued working for many years. In terms of salary and hours, it was very possible to balance work with family life. I was confident and content.”
But something was missing.
Linton, who had volunteered in youth and young adult ministry for a number of years, began to sense a call to pursue ministry beyond a volunteer capacity. His wife, Bethany graduate Britnee Linton, nudged him toward Bethany. He admits that he is pleasantly surprised that he finds his coursework so engaging.
“For the first time in my life, I’m actually enjoying school,” he says.
Linton previously earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in business, but those degrees felt purely like means to professional ends. His MDiv studies at Bethany, by contrast, is encouraging him to think more expansively, and consider a wide range of perspectives and possibilities.
“I have learned to appreciate that I don’t always have the answers when it comes to interpreting scripture. In Bethany classes, I am invited to question everything — including my own assumptions.”
He remembers a moment during Dr. Dan Ulrich’s course on Romans when he came face-to-face with his own limited world view. The class included several students from Nigeria alongside American counterparts. There was a mention of “unclean food” in the text, which led to a lively conversation about differences of opinion among Nigerian tribes about prohibitions related to eating certain types of meat.
“Something that I might have just skipped over meant a lot to others in the class. They reminded me how important it is to have diverse perspectives, and to be open to varied points of view.”
Linton brings this broader view to his work at Union Bridge Church of the Brethren, where he and Britnee serve as co-pastors.
“I appreciate the opportunity to do things differently. Sometimes I use poetry in worship, or incorporate a different type of music, or take a new approach to the sermon. Bethany has led me to really appreciate flexibility and to learn how to make adjustments, which was particularly important during Covid.”