UNION — A local college student is on the path to becoming a pastor — a profession to which he feels he has been led since he was in 9th grade.
North Greenville University junior Rob Williams was the guest speaker at Tabernacle Baptist Church’s Sunday morning worship service last Sunday. Because of dual credit classes he had as a student at Union County High School, Williams will have the opportunity to graduate from North Greenville in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Christian studies.
After graduation in May, Williams plans to attend Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. to earn a Master’s of Divinity degree. According to his plan, he will have a master’s degree at age 24, and from there, his plan is to pastor a church.
The son of Robert and Laura Williams, the college junior has said he wanted to become a pastor since he was in 9th grade.
“In high school, you’re encouraged to think about a career path,” Williams said. “I started thinking about what I could do that would allow me to further serve God and strengthen my relationship with Him.”
Because of Williams’ academic success, he said he was advised to pursue other career paths that could lead to more money, but he said he had to accept that his original career choice was the right one.
“Any other career choice would easily allow me to leave God out of my life,” Williams said. “I had to realize that life is not about making money or worldly possessions, but fulfilling God’s call for my life.”
Williams said his studies at North Greenville have been eye-opening.
“When I came, I thought I knew a lot of the Bible because I was at church every time the doors opened,” he said. “I had heard about every Sunday School and youth group lesson you could hear. Coming here, it goes a lot deeper — going into a lot of stuff you don’t hear in a Sunday School classroom.”
Williams said he had several prejudices and ideas when first attended North Greenville, in terms of worship and the way it had to be done.
“I’ve learned that worship is a lifestyle we’re all involved in,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be done a certain way — or as traditional as I was used to.”
Williams discussed the numerous subjects he has studied in college including Greek (because it is the language in which the New Testament was written), hermeneutics (theory of text interpretation, particularly that of the Bible), systematic theology, principles of theological research and writing, and much more.
For the past two summers, Williams has worked as the summer youth pastor at Brown’s Creek Baptist Church. He said he has tried to pass on some of the knowledge he’s acquired in college, particularly in terms of interpreting and understanding scripture.
One of Williams’ current classes at North Greenville requires students to focus on one particular book of the Bible for the entire semester. Williams is studying the book of Galatians, which contains a set of verses that he said he has always held close, Galations 5:22-23 —
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Williams said he believes God has continued to put those verses into his life.
“I’ve always seen them pop up in different places,” Williams said. “I think those are particular verses God wants me to remember.”
Williams said he strives to live by the verses.
“If you’re producing those fruits of the Spirit through your words, actions and thoughts, then you’re showing you’re in God’s will and you’re walking with Him daily,” Williams said. “People can see you’re walking with God without having to ask. They should know who I am and what I stand for by the way I act.”
Williams said he believes all Christians — not only those seeking a job in the ministry — should educate themselves about Christianity as a whole.
“It’s more difficult than people think,” he said. “The pastor is not necessarily the most educated in the church or a better person than other people in the church. The pastor is just the one instructing what God led him to instruct.”