Ben Clapp is a member of YTI’s inaugural Master of Divinity class in Bozeman.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and why you chose to pursue your M.Div.
I’m in campus ministry, on staff at Montana State University at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I lead Bible studies, get students involved, and conduct leadership training. I completed my undergraduate studies in 2014 and learned a lot through InterVarsity. When deciding to go back to school, I thought about how it will directly effect and grow my current ability and knowledge and how it will benefit what I’m currently doing. I’m attending YTI as a part-time student and plan to finish in 4 years, instead of 3 years. I never liked the idea of taking years off of ministry to prepare, and I can work with people while learning.
Why did you choose Yellowstone Theological Institute?
I liked the idea, and I knew and respected Dr. Bill Fowler. My undergraduate degree is in religious studies. I grew up in a secular university; and InterVarsity is interdenominational—there is a multiplicity of use, learning from each other, learning about other denominations. Similarly, at YTI there are different perspectives and different professors from different places. It’s not about producing one certain worldview, but still being committed to Jesus and faith. We are highly committed to the truth and seeking out the truth together.
What’s it like being part of the inaugural M.Div. class?
It’s pretty cool. I like the intergenerational aspect and people coming from different experiences and life places. It adds to the complexity.
What do you enjoy most about YTI?
The professors are pretty high quality. They really care about us, the students, and they definitely care about what they are talking about. I enjoy the graduate level of studies—it’s more serious, but there is also more understanding by the professors that you have a job, a family, and life outside of the school. The YTI community is developing naturally as we grow together.
Describe what “where faith meets adventure and the arts” means to you.
It’s perfect for Bozeman. It reminds me that there is this engagement with how faith relates to our everyday life… and it’s nature and outdoors, but also good film, good music, and good art It reminds me of what I assume—YTI wants to be here, providing spiritual truth to the community. We are integrating within ourselves and also within Bozeman as community members.
What do you plan on doing once you’ve graduated?
I’ll explore the options, but I want to continue in ministry of some kind.