GWU Pastoral Studies Degree Equips Alumnus for His Calling to Serve the Church

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Alex Lockridge ’10 Wants to Help People Grow in Their Faith

An image of GWU alumnus Alex Lockridge preaching at his church in Kentucky.As pastor of First Baptist Church of Morehead, Ky., Alex Lockridge (’10) strives to guide people to fully become who God created them to be. His role models are professors in the Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity who helped him discern his call into ministry.

Integral to his growth process was learning how to be spiritually flexible. “I came into the School of Divinity with a brick wall theology, and it did not leave any room for those with whom I disagreed,” shared Lockridge, who earned a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies.

The late Dr. Dan Goodman, associate professor of New Testament, confronted Lockridge about his poor attitude. “Being six hours away from my fiancé and being a judgmental know-it-all was not a good recipe for divinity school,” Lockridge reflected. “I struggled to make friends and I struggled to enjoy the classroom. One day, in my second semester, Dr. Goodman, who was also my adviser, pulled me into his office and said, ‘Alex, you look like you don’t want to be here.’ We had a heart-to-heart, and I realized that my theological stubbornness was preventing me from experiencing what God had for me at GWU. We had other talks throughout my time there, and they all helped to transform my experience into one of the best of my life.”

An image of GWU alum Alex Lockridge holding a microphone and speaking to a group.Goodman and other professors gave Lockridge the tools he needed to shepherd a congregation. “Every professor I had, every class I took, every moment spent at Gardner-Webb was meaningful, and I wouldn’t trade one part of it for an experience anywhere else,” Lockridge asserted.

Among those who influenced him greatly were Dr. Danny West, who taught preaching techniques, and Dr. Cal Robertson who ignited a passion for the Hebrew language. Dr. Sheri Adams explained racial justice, and Dr. Doug Dickens shared about grief and counseling. Dr. Robert Canoy expounded on the book of Revelation and showed students there was nothing to fear within its chapters.

While professors guided students’ learning, relationships with classmates enriched the experience. “Our lounge was a true home for fellowship every time I stepped foot into it,” Lockridge observed. “I learned to respect my fellow knowledge-seekers, because we were all on the same path. I can’t imagine the experience I had without the people I had it with.”

Above all, Gardner-Webb divinity school is a family. “They will love you the way a family should; encourage you when you need it; call you out, lovingly, when you need it; and push you beyond your perceived limits,” Lockridge affirmed. “They will be there for you in ways you cannot appreciate until after you have graduated and moved on. You are going to realize God is much bigger than you ever thought God could be. When your days are finished at Gardner-Webb, you will look at the world and at ministry knowing you are ready.”

If you are interested in learning more about the programs offered by the School of Divinity, click here.