“Called to Prepare” Student Profile – Shawn Wallace
November 21, 2022
Shawn Wallace grew up immersed in the Church. As the son of a Baptist preacher, he knew his hymns and Scripture by heart. By the time he was 20, Shawn’s faith had stalled—he couldn’t wait to move away from New Jersey and pursue success on his own terms.
But while attending college in Boston, Shawn’s heart changed. He found himself lonely; eventually he started looking for a church to attend. Shawn struggled to find one with “educational preaching.” He also found himself temporarily homeless when his dormitory sustained a fire. All these experiences stirred him to think about deep needs in the world, rather than just his own advancement.
Working in a college student services office, he had to listen well to college students in order to assist them. At times they shared pain from broken relationships or even trauma. Slowly, Shawn felt himself called to the field of mental health.
Shawn wanted to provide counseling that merged spirituality and psychology, but he knew that he wasn’t ready. His dad’s words echoed in his head: “God calls you twice: first time to prepare, next to do the work for which you prepared.” Shawn needed tools from the fields of religion and the social sciences, so he began to look at seminaries.
At a friend’s ordination service, Shawn met NBTS president Dr. Micah McCreary. Here was a man Shawn wanted for his mentor, someone trained in both psychology and theology. The Seminary’s dual degree in Master of Divinity & Master of Arts (Pastoral Care and Counseling) was tailor-made for him.
In Fall 2022, Shawn enrolled at NBTS. At age 23, Shawn is one of the youngest in his cohort. Students’ age ranges just add to the diversity he appreciates at the Seminary—diversity in race, sex, gender orientation, and theological background. Despite these differences (or maybe because of them), Shawn has found community at NBTS. As he says, “Every seminary should be inclusive because the word of God is inclusive.”
Shawn Wallace is becoming equipped for ministry. After NBTS, he plans to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology, just like his mentor Dr. McCreary: “I want to take the gifts and experience and education I’ve received to meet deep needs in the world.”