Adrian Crum is in his final year at Westminster Seminary California, completing his master of divinity degree. Since graduating from Providence, he has worked at Haven Ministries, a radio program produced in Riverside, California.
How did the Providence liberal arts education serve you in your pursuit of a career?
The most obvious way I benefited from a Providence education [is] having a theological context for the things I have written for the [Haven Ministries] radio program. I think if I hadn’t gone to a liberal arts college, I wouldn’t have known how to write and think carefully. I also studied with Christians from different backgrounds in college and that helped me relate to believers in a non-profit, broadly evangelical setting.
Has Providence made an impact in your pursuit of seminary?
I think students who don’t have a liberal arts degree can tend to think technically about theology and Scripture. Some come with a degree in engineering or math and think of seminary as a place to learn the precisely correct theological answer—which is certainly significant preparation for pastoral ministry, but it can be tempting to miss and not appreciate the way something is said or written. So I think my liberal arts degree helped me appreciate genres and types of stories, which helps me to see all the aspects and books of Scripture in a way that is different. Additionally, Providence helped me think within systems or a tradition. I had a sense of the contours of Reformed tradition, but now I have a framework I received at college.
Many people question the value of a liberal arts education. How do you value your Providence educational experience?
I have met a lot of people who tend to think of education as an investment with expectation that they would “make the money back.” Although I think education can be that, it’s much more than that. As I’ve looked back at my time at Providence, it opened up the world to me. I appreciated things I never loved before: poetry, history, writing, and good stories. My time at Providence transformed me. It’s tough to put a dollar sign on that change. I wasn’t the same person afterwards. I think it was less putting tools in my toolbox, and more as an entire reorientation towards the richness and beauty with which God designed the world.
In what way did the Providence education transform you?
I was changed by class lectures; but I was also changed by other people. Conversations started in class that continued outside of class, and the classroom spilled out into friendships. I think education happens in all sorts of places and I’m still learning from my Providence degree as I continue conversations with professors and alumni.