One of the joys of training seminary students is sending them out and watching how they bless the lives of so many other people. While there is always a sadness with the departure of each graduating class, that sadness is lessened by the joy that comes from seeing the impact of their ministries.
But every once in a while, one of those grads returns.
That is what happened with Dave Latham (class of 2010), who is the next installment in the Where Are They Now? alumni series. After five years in RUF, Dave returned in 2015 to join the RTS Charlotte team as our Director of Admissions. And it has been a delight having him back.
As one of our own grads, Dave understands as well as anyone the vision, ethos, and distinctives of RTS. If you are thinking about seminary, I encourage you to reach out to him (you can begin here).
Here is his interview:
1. What are you currently doing?
I am currently the Director of Admissions & Recruitment at RTS Charlotte. I have been in this role since the summer of 2015 and it has been a joy to serve my alma mater. Prior to that, I was the RUF campus minister at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA from 2010-2015.
2. Why did you originally come to RTS?
In late 2006 Dustin Salter, the RUF campus minister at Furman University, fell of his bike and ended up in a coma. I was working at Camp Greystone at the time and Dustin had become a fast friend through camp. A year prior I had emphatically told my wife that I would NEVER go to grad school and NEVER go into full-time ministry. But, after hearing the news of Dustin’s injury, the Lord put a burden on my heart for the students at Furman in a way I had never felt before. Like me, they were stunned by the news and I knew they needed a steady presence. So, I ended up on the phone with Rod Mays, the former national coordinator of RUF, and became the “band-aid intern” at Furman. I continued to work at Greystone in the morning and went to Furman every afternoon. It was through this experience that I felt the Lord call me to seminary and into campus ministry but I was afraid of the academic side, especially the languages. But, I remember having breakfast with a few trusted friends and asking them about my calling and seminary. One of them, Rob Hamby, said, “We know you’re called, you just need to get over yourself and go to school.” I knew Rob loved me and I knew he was right so I applied to RTS Charlotte shortly thereafter.
3. Is there one thing that you learned at RTS that has come back to you as you have ministered to others? A phrase, encouragement or advice?
Dr. Cara’s phrase “be as balanced as the Bible is balanced” has been a tremendous help over the years. The Scripture is absolutely foundational to our ministry and there are some topics that are non-negotiable, like justification by grace alone, the exclusivity of Christ, etc. But, there are other topics that fall under the liberty of conscience and wisdom. As I seek to minister to others, this phrase has been a good reminder that where the Bible is immovable I need to plant my feet. But, it reminds me to be gracious and charitable with others on the issues that are left to the conscience.
4. What do you enjoy most about your current ministry?
I love meeting with prospective students and hearing about their lives and calling to the ministry. It is always encouraging to hear their stories and be reminded of how God is working in the world. I also love working with existing students and shepherding them through their time at RTS. As a former student, I know the unique struggles that accompany seminary life and I just want to be a supportive voice and a listening ear.
5. What has been a struggle in your ministry?
I remember how hard the hectic seminary life was for my family and it is hard to see students struggle under the same stress and workload. But, I am grateful for the opportunity to encourage them in the midst of the daily grind.
6. If you could give any encouragement to a current student in seminary, what would it be?
Seminary is hard but Jesus is faithful. He has called you to this work and he will never leave you. He loves you. Keep being faithful to Christ, your family, and your church. Don’t be flashy, be faithful and learn to respect your limits.
To get a feel for Dave’s ministry here at RTS Charlotte, check out this exciting video: