By Melody Pfaffenberger
Teaching. Ministering to women. Helping people help others. These are a few passions that light a fire in the heart of Dr. Christy Morr, one of the newest members of the faculty at Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Ind.
Joining the faculty in the fall of 2006 to teach classes such as Spiritual Formation, Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Management, and Women and Scripture, she has filled a niche on a faculty that long has been all male.
“Her experience and ability to prepare women for ministry will make her a key component in our teaching staff,” stresses Dr. Jeff Gill, dean of the seminary.
Morr’s spiritual passion took root as a young person growing up in the Grace Brethren Church in Ashland, Ohio. There she saw people who were excited about God – especially those who worked with the youth.
“I felt special, loved, and cared for there,” she recalls. “It was a very growing time in my life.”
She was influenced by her then-youth pastor (and now senior pastor at Ashland GBC), Dan Allan.
“He had a very holistic way of looking at life,” Morr says, “and he always put his relationships first.”
As a teen, she immersed herself in the youth group and became involved in Bible quizzing, studying the Bible, and competing with the Ashland GBC team in district competitions. She found it a good way to be invested in the Scriptures while spending time with friends.
But as involved as she was at church, she could have been considered a bit stand-offish at her public high school. She admits she didn’t mingle much with non-believers because there was an emphasis on not being “in the world.”
“I had always thought that I needed to stay away from non-Christians because they might mess me up,” she recalls. “I had enough friends to be semi-popular, but not so many friends that I became deeply involved in a culture I was trying to steer away from.”
Her faith deepened while a student at Wheaton College in Illinois. This gave her a foundation to begin to decipher how to be “in the world and not of it.”
“Christianity began to make sense to me” she says, “and living with people who were different, but not so different, was awesome. Our humanness united us together, and we were also bound to each other by the bond we shared with God.”
Shortly before she left for college, she participated in a ministry conference that taught her several foundational truths. She learned that two things are eternal: people and God’s Word, and that you need to be involved in both.
She also realized that ministry should be primary, not secondary. “That doesn’t mean everyone is called to be a cross-cultural missionary,” Morr explains. “It means that whatever you are doing should be your ministry.”
That realization has been an impetus to help others reach spiritual maturity. The topic of her doctoral dissertation at Talbot School of Theology was driven by a desire to contribute to the body of knowledge concerning spiritual theology and how God is at work in people’s lives to grow them spiritually.
Before coming to Grace, Morr was involved in women’s ministry at a large church in Southern California and also taught at Biola University and at Talbot School of Theology. At Grace Seminary, she’s continuing to teach and prepare men and women for ministry.
She found her first year teaching in Winona Lake to be stimulating.
“The majority of my students are deep, both spiritually and intellectually,” she says. She has found it fulfilling to know that her students value what she says and understand the concepts she is trying to convey.
“I’m grateful to be a part of Grace Seminary and connected to the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches,” she stresses. “I see the value of our Fellowship and look forward to being a resource person and contributor to those who are investing in the lives of others.”
During the spring 2007 semester, Melody Pfaffenberger was an editorial intern with the Brethren Missionary Herald Company. She is a rising senior at Grace College from Mishawaka, Ind.