With a degree in accounting and a background in financial services, Stacey might not seem like the typical seminary student. In fact, when he started classes at SES, he had “no particular goal in mind”—just a desire to do ministry in some form or fashion.
And that’s all it takes.
Time after time, SES staff hear stories from students of all backgrounds and skill sets. The trucking industry. The medical field. Adoption services. Former atheists, new Christians and international missionaries. Fresh out of college and lifelong learners.
All that really matters is an eagerness to share Jesus Christ with others.
Stacey studied at SES between 1996 and 2000, took a 10-year break and eventually earned his doctor of ministry degree in 2018. He lives outside Charlotte where he still works in financial services and pastors a church.
He may be in the Bible Belt, but there are plenty of people in his community who aren’t Christians or don’t have a solid faith foundation.
“Church, as far as I’ve observed, is often sociocultural,” he said. It’s just something you do. That means a lot of churchgoers “haven’t really given thought to what their faith entails.”
His church has a saying: “We shouldn’t go to church; we should be the church. Church is not what we do; it’s who we are.”
From a pastoral perspective, Stacey said, his role is about “shepherding [the congregation] to think about issues … from a reasonable worldview.” It’s teaching his fellow believers—and even non-believers—to think rationally about the world around them.
During his time at SES, he studied under the late Dr. Norm Geisler.
“I admire the way he could take complex things and make them simple,” he said. He tries to do the same in his own ministry—to make tough concepts “simple without making them simplified.”
Though he hasn’t sat through a class in a few years now, what he learned in his logic and philosophy courses has made a lasting impact.
“Logic helps you order your thoughts, and then philosophy studies different worldviews about what people think.”
Both areas of study help him communicate with people on a daily basis.
“Something that comes up all the time is relative truth—‘that’s true for you but not for me’—versus absolute truth. People don’t realize the internal inconsistency and contradiction. … Just saying there’s no absolute truth is a truth claim.”