What is the Ivory Tower?
There will be more said about this later…. but the Ivory Tower is a well-known ‘thing’ in Higher Education (like in seminary!). It’s a term that means ‘having to do with higher education’ and it symbolizes the lofty ideals of education and how gaining such knowledge has been, historically, not easy to do because knowledge wasn’t as easily accessible in the past.
But it signifies something different for me and Podcast Seminary. “The Ivory Tower” is a phrase I’m using to explain how Podcast Seminary wants to help people with ‘discipleship’ and it symbolizes the lofty ideal of Christian education– namely, the biblical responsibility we have of making disciples and taking them into ever-higher levels of commitment, knowledge, freedom, and victorious living.
More about that later, but the Ivory Tower will be revealed soon, and it will show and explain how Podcast Seminary wants to help you grow spiritually, and will give you a step-by-step spiritual growth strategy for personal growth, to help you become all God has made you to become! I can’t wait to share it.
OK, Now What Is “My Story?”
“My Story” is a new inspirational blog post I want to offer regularly here that tells you the inspirational story of interesting people who we’ve gotten to know and who are growing in their faith, and who are using Podcast Seminary resources to encourage their growth. I plan to share stories like mine– and theirs– and YOURS here on this blog through regular “My Story” features like this.
Has Podcast Seminary helped you? Contact Dean Freddy Cardoza and he will tell you how to share your story, and will give you the tools you need to get it ready to be shared here with others!
MY STORY… BEFORE
My story begins as a child in my first hometown of Huntsville, Tennessee. We lived in an old white farmhouse without running water right here where the trees now stand. This photo is from this year. Just take yourself back to the 1970s and that’s where it was– only gone now and grown up with trees and weeds where it used to stand.
After mom remarried, we moved to a nearby town named Oneida, TN (take a look around– this image starts off not in the most beautiful part of town). We went irregularly to our original church, but not that often and I really had no understanding of faith or a relationship with God at the time.
Ultimately, I was invited to a leading church in town to hear famed football player, Reggie White, then still a college player at the University of Tennessee. He and player Willie Gault were speaking. That evening I heard the truth of the gospel, the message of God’s love, and invited Jesus into my life. For the first time, in the months to come, I started to put some of the pieces of life together.
In those days I had several people help me grow. Had it not been for people who took time and were transparent enough to encourage me to grow, I would have gone nowhere spiritually. This included people who made an indelible mark on my life, that stretched from the earliest days of my faith until college.
It all began with Judy Adkins Chitwood, who met with me and one of my best friends EVERY WEEK for two years on Saturdays, to help encourage my growth. Without Judy I’d be nowhere. Then came Paul Stith, my first youth minister. He ever so patiently helped answer the hundreds of questions I had about God and faith and life. From taking me on long road trips across the state to sharing about his family’s faith, I grew so much under his tutelage. Then came Scott Andrews, my second youth minister. He and wife Jennifer were treasures that unconditionally loved me and opened their home regularly to me and others, encouraging my growth—and remaining friends for years, even until now. Along with them came the late Pastor John Shepherd, a giant among men, who was simply “The Man,” and I’ll never exhaust my thanks for him. Them, plus very influential people like Rose West, Jack E. Lay, Allen Matthews, Dale Smith, and Tom McBroom—all of these were crucial in helping me grow spiritually. They helped disciple me. That’s what the Christian life is about! That’s the ‘point!’
My Story… Now
Today, due to the investment of those people and a few decisions of my own, I am what I am. I am approaching my 35th year as a believer—hard to believe—and I’ve sought to walk with God like I was taught in my youth and early adulthood after becoming a Christian. God’s given me enough insight and training that I want, and have a responsibility, to make disciples like those who helped me become one.
My Story…. In the Future
That’s where Podcast Seminary comes in. I understand that Podcast Seminary isn’t ‘really’ a seminary! But it’s sort of like a seminary, in that it’s meant to provide systematic and comprehensive training over a large area of discipleship content that most Christians don’t get. They don’t get it because not enough people are “making disciples.”
I believe that “being” a disciple is great—but that’s only half of it. We then have to go from “being” to “making” disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). So Podcast Seminary is a resource and set of tools I’m creating to help people grow in their faith and relationship with God.
I want to help people gain access to discipleship content that is broader and deeper, but also more condensed. I want to provide it in easy to access ways (like social media) and in more substantial ways people learn (like video, blogs, and audio). Using audio, I will create more substantial content through producing audio courses, which will be a big part of the type of teaching and training I want to provide. In time, as people discipline themselves to listen and learn to my discipleship-based podcast audio courses, they will begin to build strong, renewed minds that are comprehensively informed and systematically instructed in all the essential areas of the Christian life.
My vision is to help people become and make disciples all over the world, wherever they are, by providing these and other resources and by personally connecting to them through other things I have planned, so more people will have access to substantial, life-changing truths that I believe every Christian should be taught. That’s what discipleship and Podcast Seminary are all about.
That’s my story. And just like Judy, Paul, Scott, John, Rose, Jack, Allen, Dale, and Tom helped teach me, I hope you’ll let me be a part of teaching you to “observe everything (he) commanded” like the Great Commission commands me and us to do! Then, my prayer is that you’ll “teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Do you have a story? I want to hear about it. I am even willing to consider featuring your story on PodcastSeminary.com/blog in a future post like this one.
Connect with me through leaving a comment below or by going to the Contact page, and we’ll get started!