Student Spotlight

Ariel Bloomer


Tell us about yourself.

I am currently working on two degrees, a Masters of Divinity and an M.A. in Modern and American Christianity. In addition, I am a Graduate Assistant of Discipleship for the Office of Spiritual Formation here at ACU, working primarily with International Students and Community Groups. When I am not working on schoolwork or at the office, I am often cooking (mainly Asian curries), exercising (a new hobby I have a love-hate relationship with), reading (mostly Harry Potter and MCU fanfictions), or spending time with friends.

What does your ministry experience look like? What was the most rewarding part of your
experience? The most challenging? 

My current ministry work is twofold. Primarily it is with the Office of Spiritual Formation. I am passionate about the international community, having been a part of it for a few years and long to be a part of it again. My secondary ministry is with GST women. It is nothing official, but I have been blessed to organize a bible study and will be working on a spring retreat with others. The main struggle with both ministries is a lack of time. It is hard to say no to things I love doing, but I probably should be doing more of that. Although selfishly, most of what I do I do because I yearn for community. I believe faith is to be lived in communities within the Church; it is personal but not private. 1 There is no church of one, despite what modern culture tells us. I’m incredibly blessed that I get to help bring believers together and see Christ in them and us as a group.

What brought you to the GST?

God brought me to the GST, as corny as that sounds. I was in Vietnam when I finally listened to the call to go into Ministry. I heard the call when I was younger, but I ignored it because I didn’t want to be a Children’s Minister, which I was told was my only option as a female. When God called me into ministry, I knew that I would need more training since my professional background was social work and teaching ESL. I also was a bit lost as to where/how God wanted me to serve. I knew that seminary would provide me with the time and space to deepen my faith, gain the skills needed to serve, and have time to discern where/how God was asking me to go.

While serving in Ministry overseas, I searched for a school with an M.Div program worldwide, but only schools in the States would take someone who didn’t have an undergrad in theology or the bible. The GST was one of eight schools I looked at, but the GST quickly became the place I wanted to go because of the people I met. Although, I felt like God was messing with me, taking me from a city of 8+ million people to 123,420 in Abilene. But I am so thankful he did.

What has been the most rewarding part of your education so far? Most challenging? 

The most rewarding part of my education has been the maturing of my faith. I am starting to get a handle on understanding what the few critical faith matters are and what constitutes grey areas. Thanks to Dr. Cukrowski’s Women in the New Testament class, I am finally confident in my place in Ministry. Overall I feel a solidifying in being from my time here. Almost everything about grad school has been challenging, but most of it stems from being a non-traditional student who wasn’t a bible or theology major. I had to learn a whole new language and way of thinking.

How has your education influenced you and your thoughts around Ministry?

I came into the GST with a social worker mindset – practical and anti-institution, including the Church. I am still practical, and I am excited to see the changes that Dr. Mason Lee and Dr. Sensing put in place to make the GST program more practical. However, I am no longer anti-institutional regarding the Church. Taking Church History, seeing how the Church developed, started that process. Studying more about the Honor and Shame cultures has cemented it for me. Ministry has to be communal, just as faith is. We should be taking a page from Christianity in the Global South; we need to get out of our heads start living out the faith, and that is done in/with/through the Church.

Any advice for folks considering the seminary?

I would say, first prayerful consider why you are going to seminary. I would encourage everyone to spend some time in Ministry first before coming. If you feel called to study more, I would say do your research, meet the people you will be studying under and see if they will support you. Seminary is where faith is taken apart and built back up again. You need teachers, mentors, and peers who will walk with you in this sacred time. So if you are determined to go to seminary, gird your loins and be ready for it.

1 Jackson Wu, “Saving Us from Me,” in Honor, Shame and the Gospel, ed. Christopher Flanders and Werner
Mischke (Littleton, CO: William Carey Publishing, 2020), 63.

Ariel is currently working on her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Modern and American Christianity. She is also working as a Graduate Assistant for the Spiritual Formation office here at ACU.