Taylor Pfeiffer, a Truett Seminary student at Baylor University, came to Bozeman early this June for an internship with YTI. He has worked primarily with Dr. Jay Smith, but has also been involved with Belgrade Community Church, joining their worship team and helping with events such as their recent VBS program and YTI’s Yellowstone Soccer Experience. Taylor returns to Waco, TX this August to begin his last year of seminary.
How did you hear about YTI?
I first heard about Yellowstone Theological Institute when I began reading a book written by a professor of mine, Dr. Roger Olson. On the back cover of the book were various statements about the book and the author; one such commenter was Dr. Jay Smith of Yellowstone Theological Institute. After inquiring about him from Dr. Olson, I learned that Dr. Smith is a friend of his who, with some others, was starting a theological institute in a town called Bozeman, Montana. I was immediately intrigued.
He could put me in touch with Dr. Smith so that I could do my mentoring course, a combined internship and class, with YTI; we were able to talk about YTI and their vision there. Fascinated by what they were doing, I accepted Dr. Smith’s invitation to “Come on up!”
How do you view the vision of YTI? What about its people?
I view YTI as an institute that aims to work for the Kingdom of God by re-envisioning what it means to be a “seminary”. They recognize that a theological institute does not just have to be a place where you sit in a classroom, do your homework, receive your grade, and then leave; it could be so much more. With YTI, it is. Their vision is to have a place that not only educates students but also gets them involved with the community, which would, in turn, get the community involved with both the students as well as what God is doing at YTI. They are breaking down the walls of the classroom and opening theological education to have a broader, fuller, and further-reaching impact, first on Bozeman, Montana, and then to the greater Northwest. YTI can only do this, of course, if its people are doing this – and they are. The staff and faculty at YTI love God and have a passion for sharing that love through education and outreach, as well as by modeling the love of Christ themselves.
Can you describe the Gallatin Valley? Your summer in Montana?
The Gallatin Valley is a beautiful and vibrant place. The country is filled with mountains, trees, wildlife, and natural beauty that I imagine would be hard to rival anywhere else one might look. In addition, the culture is as rich as the land. The people here thrive on the natural draw of the Valley, but make it into so much more by the exploring the sights, sounds, tastes, and uniqueness that this community brings. My summer in Montana has reflected this in many ways, as I have climbed the mountains, floated the rivers, walked the streets of downtown, eaten amazing food, and gotten to know the wonderful people.
I am incredibly thankful for my summer here and would encourage anyone and everyone who has the opportunity to take a class, hear a lecture, or meet the people at YTI, to absolutely do so.