88-year old pursues doctorate at Liberty

When Duane Seitz, a pastor and current Liberty Online student, first went to school, there was no Canvas, discussion boards or threads. In fact, there weren’t even computers — just good, old fashioned books and pencils. 

But Seitz, who is currently 88 years old, didn’t let the new ways of online education stop him from pursuing a doctorate in ministry with a degree in ministry leadership via Liberty University’s School of Divinity.

“I guess I am a lifelong learner,” Seitz said. “I believe that God has given us a wonderful mind and expects us to be good stewards of that special gift.” 

Seitz began his classes on Jan. 16 at the start of the spring semester. 

“Admittedly, going back to school is a challenge,” Seitz said. “Both of my master’s degrees were done in a classroom setting. The online experience has been a great ‘learning curve’ for me and has consumed more of my time than the class assignments.”

Most students do not think twice about the terms Liberty uses to conduct its online and residential classes. However, for Seitz, he struggled with learning the new language of college classes. 

“I thought a ‘dashboard’ was something in the front of my first Model A Ford, a ‘thread’ was something my dear wife uses when she sews and ‘canvas’ was something I use to cover things to keep them from getting wet,” he said. “My granddaughter said, ‘Oh, grandpa, we learned all that in middle school.’ But there was no ‘middle school’ when I went to school, and there certainly were no computers. But I am learning. God is continuing to supply my needs.”

Seitz began his ministry journey when he was 27 years old. At a revival service, he felt God calling him to the ministry. At the time, he and his wife (now married for 68 years) had been living on a farm and raising
three children.

“We were blessed with a very prosperous farming operation — land, livestock and farming equipment,” Seitz said. “This required considerable financial capital, and we were in what was called a production loan. To break that loan prematurely meant that we would be in trouble financially. Believing that God was leading, we left the farm, and I started back to school with no money, only a promise from the Lord. Philippians 4:19: ‘But, my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’”

Throughout his journey, Seitz continued trusting in God to provide for his family. In doing so, in his sophomore year of ‘ministerial training,’ he was elected student body president. That same year, he was called to serve a small, country church. 

Seitz has been serving the kingdom of God for more than 50 years, pastoring both small and large churches. His commitment to advancing the kingdom is what led him to furthering his education in ministry. 

Although God has provided in many ways for Seitz and his family, Seitz expressed that his enrollment in his doctorate program has not been short of its challenges. Despite the challenges of his enrollment process, Seitz noted how supportive the Liberty University staff has been.

“I am grateful to have the honor of attending (the) Liberty University School of Divinity. The people with whom I worked in the enrollment process have been so helpful,” Seitz said. “The entire atmosphere of Liberty University and the School of Divinity has been one of positive, godly (and) Christ-exalting emphasis. I too want to be a Champion for Christ and hear his words, ‘Well done faithful servant!’”

Along with his doctorate studies, Seitz is pastoring a “restart renewal church.” He described this experience as difficult
at times. 

“The church is small, the majority of the congregation are seniors (and) money is short. I receive $125 a week with no benefits,” Seitz said. “It is no longer ministering to the entire family. I am excited and praying that, as I move through the doctoral program, I will be able to gain new insights and methodology for seeing the church turn around and come alive.”

When asked if he had any advice for his fellow Liberty Flames, Seitz cited Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

“If we are in God’s will,” Seitz said, “he will make a way. Also, read and claim Philippians 4:19: ‘My God will supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’” 

Scott is a copy editor for the Liberty Champion

One comment

  • At age 71 I was admitted to a Liberty University Online degree program but have not been able to find the finances to pay for tuition, books and fees. I’d like to be able to finish work for a Bachelors degree and join my beloved daughter as a Liberty graduate. Rev. Seitz gives me hope. Perhaps, if it is God’s will God will make a way. Meanwhile may God bless Rev. Seitz as he pursues his doctorate degree. AMEN!

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