The Teaching Life: Surprise! Surprise!

This past weekend, I taught the class “The Spiritual Life of the Minister” for the last time at Asbury Theological Seminary.  I taught it first in the Summer of 1981.

As I was bringing the class to a close, the door opened, and in walked Jeannie with a balloon and cupcakes.  It was a moment of pure surprise—although I have to say I was not surprised that she would love me enough to do this.  That’s been proven over our nearly 43 years of marriage.

But thanks to her, we ended “with a party.”  She, more than anyone else, has walked this teaching journey, giving me her unqualified love, support, and wise counsel all along the way.  There could have been no better way to end the course that I’ve taught at ATS longer than any other, than to have her there with me.  Thank you Jeannie!

And….thanks to every single student who has been part of that course experience, beginning with the nearly 30 who were in the room this past Saturday, and going all the way back to the Summer of 1981.  Almost every year, this course has been offered as a way to help students prepare them for “long-haul ministry.”  I can only pray that the seeds which have been sown have borne fruit as needed.  I can only say that teaching all of you has been pure joy.

So….thanks Jeannie….for surprising me.  And thanks students for signing up for the class over all these years.  And most of all…..thanks be to God for the opportunity to have been blessed with such a loving wife and so many faithful students  I am one happy man!

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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9 Responses to The Teaching Life: Surprise! Surprise!

  1. Jodie Howell says:

    Steve, I sat in “Spiritual Life of the Minister” in the J-term (January) of 2006 and it is a class I will never forget, for every reason already expressed by other grateful students but also for one that was unique to me. Near the end of that week, you were introducing a new section – the spirituality of caring for our bodies – when my computer went beserk and in an instant I lost all of my class notes. I remember hearing, “Get enough sleep!” – it’s actually one of the few messages I have in black and white from that class and i’m still trying to put it into practice!! Praying that retirement affords you many opportunities to get some much deserved rest and relaxation with your beautiful bride of nearly 43 years!!

  2. You will be missed so much. I love you and Jeannie and have been so blessed by you both. I enjoyed our work side by side for 9 years and the friendship that will last for all eternity!

  3. Stacy Minger says:

    I’m grateful to be counted among the number of those who sat in your classroom and under your teaching ministry . . . all the way from ERC as a junior high camper to MDiv work at ATS!

  4. John Ryberg says:

    I am thankful beyond words for your teaching! May God bless you richly as your journey continues.

  5. David says:

    May Gd continue to bless you, Steven!

  6. Heather trapp says:

    Amazing! Thanks for all of your wisdom and experience that you always so willingly share with students! Your impact on my spiritual formation journey has been incredible. Thanks for lovingly leading all of us to the feet of Him Who Created Us All!

  7. Michael Sanders says:

    Steve, I was in one of those early classes and my spiritual life was transformed by that experience. You are truly a great teacher, because you led us to the GREATEST TEACHER of all, the precious Holy Spirit. Thanks for your dedication down through the years.

  8. Meghan Farr says:

    Thank you Dr. Harper for all your years of teaching and ministry! I am blessed to have had two courses with you at Asbury and the chance to learn from you! You and Jeannie are an inspiration!

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