Chris Hurley moved his family of nine to Southern Seminary despite knowing the hardships they would face. Those hardships, in his words, are preparing his family to serve the church.

“I am here to prepare to be a servant leader of Christ’s bride. My family and I are experiencing these hardships now, and I have no reason to anticipate vocational ministry to be without hardships,” he said.

Hurley and his wife, Kaki, moved to Louisville, Kentucky, from Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Despite the hardships that seminary life brings — like adjusting to the additional demands of work and faithfully loving and serving his family — Hurley says he wants his family, in seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s words, to “be sent out as gifts to the church” after his education.

Most seminary students have to balance a job, spouse, and one or two children. The Hurleys have seven children. Hurley says one of the greatest challenges in balancing family, work, and school life is to “lean on Christ and his strength.” He also makes family life a priority, knowing this is a biblical mandate and an important habit to cultivate.

“Scripture makes clear that neglect of my responsibility to serve and shepherd my wife and children can disqualify me for ministry,” he said.

The Hurleys’ financial hardship is lessened by the generosity of donors to Southern Seminary. Hurley received a $5,000 Rick Bordas Scholarship during the seminary’s recent Heritage Golf Classic.

After an expected graduation with a master of divinity in worship leadership in 2018, Hurley hopes to serve a church as a music minister and pastor. One of the reasons Hurley chose Southern was because of worship professor Joseph R. Crider. Hurley met with Crider and a music student, Devon Kauflin, during a visit to the seminary. Both of these interactions were further factors in their decision to attend Southern Seminary.