Peter Armstrong

From my junior year as an undergraduate I felt called to ministry. My mentor encouraged me to get some life experience before diving into seminary, so I ran a coffee shop where I went to college, Grand Rapids, for a couple of years before moving back to my Seattle hometown. As I considered different seminary options—thinking I’d need to move to Pasadena to attend Fuller—I met a local pastor, Randy Rowland, who was also an adjunct professor at Fuller Northwest. Randy asked me to pray about helping him start a church there in Seattle and attending Fuller Northwest at the same time. That opportunity cinched it for me.

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My time at Fuller Northwest was richly formative for me spiritually and vocationally. What I most appreciated is that it was deeply practical. So much of what we discussed in my theology, church history, counseling, and other classes was relevant to my ministry context. Again and again professors asked us, What does this theology look like in your context? The questions we’re wrestling with, what will those mean for what you’re going to do tomorrow in your ministry? In systematic theology, even the exams posed practical issues: “Someone comes to you and asks, is Jesus the only way to God? What would you say to them? These are questions you will face in pastoral ministry.” And that has proven to be true.

Bond and BoweryBeing part of a cohort, having class with the same 15 to 20 people, was an amazing experience as well. Such a breadth of ethnicities, ages, backgrounds, denominations—there was someone right out of undergrad, someone in her 70s who wanted to be a chaplain, and everything in between. I learned so much from my colleagues.

My call to urban church planting was really honed at Fuller. Now I’m living in Manhattan, where we planted a church five years ago. There is so much brokenness here—rich and poor; young professionals consumed with work and partying—and also so much potential. If the gospel could get a foothold in New York, it could literally change the world. Those tough questions I wrestled with at Fuller, the lifelong learning practices, the ministry applications—it’s all serving me well right here, right now.

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