Building A Different Kind of Kingdom with an Accelerated Master’s Program
Parker Lambert went to a large state school for two years as an Engineering major. In his third year, he transferred to Grace Seminary and jumped into the accelerated master’s program to get his Master of Divinity Degree.
So why did he uproot his life in the big city with a successful career ahead of him to study theology? In Lambert’s story, he explains that his motivation behind this big decision was the difference between two kingdoms — from the kind he could build with his own two hands to the kind that dwells in heavenly places.
Growing up, Lambert loved helping his grandpa in his workshop, building and designing things out of wood. He aspired to be an inventor when he grew up, and by the time he was graduating high school, electrical engineering seemed like the best path for his dream.
During his first semester at college, his grandpa passed away. Even though the two had been close, Lambert realized that they had never deeply discussed God together.
“When you lose someone very close to you, it makes you think about what you leave behind when you die,” Lambert reflected. “I can’t take engineering with me, but I can take the Word of God with me,” he said.
Lambert joined Campus Crusades for Christ (CRU) and started leading a Bible study. As he finished his first year and headed into his second, his passion started to shift away from engineering and toward his CRU group. The possibility of a ministry degree became more and more real as he talked to pastors and family members to seek out God’s path for his life.
“Ministry is focused on people,” Lambert said. “It’s focused on building God’s kingdom, rather than building my own kingdom.”
While he knew he could glorify God through engineering, he realized that God had a different plan for him.
Go with Grace
In the first semester of his third year in college, Lambert dropped out of the large state school he was attending, started taking general ed classes at a community college, and adjusted to the idea of going to seminary. Although the transition wasn’t easy, it was worth it in the end.
Lambert was at his church one day when interns from Grace College told him about the five-year accelerated graduate degree in ministry. He could get his bachelor’s degree and his accelerated M.Div. all at once and graduate in 2023, even with losing a year of credits due to the transfer.
“I thought, ‘That’s kind of crazy!’” Lambert laughed. “I would get exactly what I wanted in less time than if I finished two more years of engineering and went to seminary. It was a moment from God. I knew that the accelerated master’s program was for me.”
As God confirmed this call to ministry on Lambert’s life, he transferred to Grace College to pursue an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies and an accelerated graduate degree with Masters in Divinity with a focus in pastoral studies.
“People have asked me, ‘Is Grace really that different from the state school you went to?’ And I always say, ‘Yes.’ I really like the emphasis Grace puts on genuine relationships with peers and teachers,” Lambert said. “Now I’m training for something I’m very passionate about, versus something I idealized in high school.”
During his first few weeks on campus, the mentorship he received from his professors encouraged him that he was in the right place. “Here at Grace, you have personal connections with your teachers,” he enthused. “It’s very cool to be known.”
Only eight short weeks after Lambert arrived at Grace, he was sent home because of the pandemic. He moved back to Ohio and started a job at Lowe’s. But God wasn’t finished surprising Lambert. Zach Huffines, a student in the same program as Lambert, worked at Lowe’s as well, which gave the two students the opportunity to form a connection and remember how much they valued their time at Grace. It was almost as if they had a little slice of Grace at home.
When August came and everyone moved back, Lambert settled into a new role on campus as an RA. He continued to cultivate his friendship with Huffines and he jumped enthusiastically back into classes. “Don’t tell my classmates, but I’m enjoying Greek a lot,” he confessed with a chuckle.
“A lot of colleges didn’t want to deal with being in-person this semester,” Lambert said. “But the community is a big emphasis of Christian colleges like Grace. Our directors have done a great job of preserving that.”
Now, Lambert is thriving as a ministry student. He loves his classes, looks forward to future leadership opportunities, and grows in his relationships with his peers and professors every day.
“If God is calling you to ministry, the accelerated master’s program gives you the best launchpad to go straight from getting an education to building God’s kingdom.”
Does Lambert’s story spark an interest? If you’ve felt called to ministry, you don’t need to wait. You can start your accelerated master’s program today to get your bachelor’s and master’s in four or five years!