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Meet A Student/Graduate

Joel Fick

Joel Fick

Why did you originally choose to attend WSC?
When I graduated from college I had a desire for and felt the calling to full time pastoral ministry. It was during college in Seattle that I really began to think seriously about God’s word and what it taught. The more I studied God’s word, the more I was excited to share what I had learned with others. So when I began looking for a seminary where my understanding could be fostered and my gifts sharpened, I was basically looking for a school that shared my passion both for the word of God and my passion to see that all-sufficient word communicated accurately and clearly that it might transform the thinking and the lives of others.

During my undergraduate work a couple of friends and I took a stimulating and challenging introductory course on the basics of biblical Hebrew. The Hebrew grammar we happened to be using was written by one of the faculty members of Westminster Seminary California. Along the way our Hebrew instructor suggested that we consider WSC. Well, a senior classmate of mine did in fact go to WSC. Throughout the course of the next year we corresponded about what he was learning and reading, and I could not help but get excited about the prospect of going to WSC myself. I soon afterward applied and was accepted and moved to California the following year.

What were the most significant things that you learned during your time at WSC? How did your education at WSC prepare you for your present roles and responsibilities?
Everything I learned at Westminster Seminary California was significant and vital for my work as a minister of the Gospel. But if I had to single out a couple of things in particular, I would say: first, I gained competency in my ability to exegete and understand God’s word, and in so doing, a greater appreciation for the majesty of Scripture itself. Second, I gained a far more profound appreciation for the historic creeds and confessions of the church. Faithful interpreters of Scripture stand on the shoulders of other faithful interpreters of Scripture. The tools I received at Westminster have already served me well both in my work as a pastor in the local church, but also in my work as a presbyter in the regional church.

What are your present endeavors and plans?
I am currently planting a church in Gainesville, Florida. In God’s providence I had the privilege of serving as a commissioner to the OPC General Assembly two years ago where those two same friends of mine from college were also commissioners. All three of us are now planting churches in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and it was through our studies at WSC that we were prepared for the task.

What is one of your favorite memories of your time at WSC? Some of my favorite memories are of times when I and other classmates would just hang out with professors or with each other after a class and talk about the gospel and the church.

What advice would you give to prospective students considering graduate theological education?
I would give them the same advice my dad (also a pastor) gave me in a letter before I went off to seminary. “Don’t simply be impressed by academics,” he said, “but be impressed by and model those whose academics produce a sincere heart for the Lord and a simple love and faith in Christ.” Having gone to Westminster Seminary California, I would heartily commend the faculty as those whose rigorous academics in the word yield that sweet fruit of “a sincere heart for the Lord and a simple love and faith in Christ.” 

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