When M’Lynn Martin was 15 years old, she felt called to ministry. She began dreaming of being a youth pastor. But the idea of college felt more like a financial burden than a dream come true. “But throughout the fall of my senior year,” Martin added, “I started getting this really strange feeling like I just had to apply to PLNU, and if I didn’t, I would regret it.”
She followed that inkling and submitted her application claiming Christian Ministry as her major with a concentration in youth. “My family and I agreed that even if we couldn’t afford PLNU, God probably could,” Martin said. Leaning heavily on her faith, she knew that Lomaland was where she needed to be. And God made a way; her family’s prayers for an overflow of opportunities to help them afford tuition were answered: “Somehow we managed!”
That sense of belief that led Martin to PLNU was further explored as she became a student. She continuously prodded at her curiosity. While sitting in chapel as a newbie freshman and hearing professors list-off upcoming Bible courses, she followed the flutter in her heart and switched her major to Biblical Studies. “[That] was probably the best decision I made throughout all of college,” Martin said. “I had just realized that while I grew up very familiar with the Bible, I truly didn’t know or understand much about it. Rather quickly, I fell in love with studying Scripture, and my life was shaped and formed deeply with each class I took and each side conversation I had with a professor.”
Those professors in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry (SoTCM) she speaks of were the ones to help shape her, guide her and mold her into who she is today — they supported her dreams. “At times throughout my journey when I didn’t believe in myself, they rallied behind me and spoke life into me,” Martin said. Take Brad Kelle, Ph.D., for example. He was the only professor of Old Testament during her stint at Point Loma, and, again — indulging her curiosities — she dove into studying the subject. Martin wanted to challenge her preconceived differences between New Testament and Old Testament; and even after four years of studying it, she wanted more.
“I had studied almost every book of the Bible through the SoCTM, except for some of the Old Testament historical books, namely the Deuteronomistic History — Deuteronomy – 2 Kings,” she explained. “While I didn’t know what the ‘Deuteronomistic History’ was at the time, I expressed my frustration with the gap in my studies with Dr. Kelle and my advisor, Dr. Mark Maddix, and they agreed to help me fix it through independent study.” Kelle and Martin created their own syllabus for a new course that zoned in on that specific section of the Bible. They connected once a week during her final semester for important discussions, grades, and a safe space to process the things she was learning. “Everything I thought I knew about God and faith was radically transformed in my time at PLNU,” Martin said. “I can’t imagine where I’d be now without my time in the SoTCM.”