MATL Testimonial – Samuel Beltz

What do you do for a profession?

Currently I serve as a pastor/theologian within a congregation aligned with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Why did you decided to get your master’s in theology?

I have many reasons for returning to academic study. The greatest two reasons are to better serve the congregation I am a part of and to better serve my wife and children.

What was your deciding factor(s) in choosing Gonzaga?

The deciding factor for my attendance at Gonzaga University was my Admission Counselor, Cindi Durgan. I applied to several different graduate programs across the nation, including the Seminary I had previously studied within. Cindi called me immediately. She even read my theological piece I submitted with my application. … She was encouraging and took a vested interest in me attending Gonzaga. I came across the program in research, but honestly did not think I stood a chance at being accepted. Cindi convinced me otherwise, and I’m glad she did.

After Cindi’s influence I became convinced that achieving a degree in Theology outside of my tradition was well worth the effort. So far, my thinking has had to become sharper concerning why I think what I think and believe what I believe. I would not have received such a challenge in other programs.

What has the online learning experience been like?

The nicer aspects of the online format have to do with scheduling. As a full-time pastor, father, and member of my community I enjoy the fact that I can work on material early in my mornings and later in my evenings and turn in the material as I complete it. I have access to resources any time of the day and my professors are fairly diligent about returning emails and phone calls. We have a Facebook group that stay active each week and is a great way for us to be in contact personally, as well as seek aid within the context of our learning.

What impact do you think this degree will have on the work that you do in your profession and/or personal life?

Personally I will feel very pleased. I will have accomplished two masters degrees by the age of 35 and most likely be preparing for PhD work.

What has been your experience with faculty?

The faculty I have interacted with are excellent. They know their stuff. They have made me work, but they are also fair to my situation. If I am slammed with funerals, fears, and troubled consciences, failing marriages and sick children of my own, I trust I can communicate with my professorship and they will address my situation… I really appreciate that aspect of this program. … I believe the faculty to be caring of me as their student.

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