Ministry, master’s degree, and mentorship. Kenny Silva pursued all three before coming to TEDS. God’s hand was upon Silva’s life as he sought after performing as a guitarist, earned a Master of Divinity, and most recently accepted the position of Senior Pastor at Hickory Grove Church in Mt. Juliet. Silva followed God’s calling to doctoral studies at TEDS in an effort to cultivate his understanding of theology in ministry. He is currently in his final semester pursuing his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology.
When asked about his education at Trinity, he referenced practical skills that he has grown in. “What TEDS did was instill in me the habits of heart and mind that enable me to fulfill my calling as a pastor-theologian,” he said.
“What TEDS did was instill in me the habits of heart and mind that enable me to fulfill my calling as a pastor-theologian.”
During his time at TEDS Silva faced a challenge that prompted him to act on these habits, saying, “One can never truly be prepared for ministry — a fact I learned all too well while pastoring Village Church of Lincolnshire during the pandemic!” Nothing could have prepared him for leading the church through the pandemic, but Silva continued to grow in his theological reasoning, which helped him to guide God’s people through the difficult time.
Silva is not only in a season of transition in his new position at Hickory Grove. He and his wife, Suzanne, are also preparing to welcome their fourth child, who is expected in May. During their time at TEDS, Silva and his family have embraced opportunities to develop lasting relationships with fellow students. Suzanne has been involved with on-campus programs such as the Trinity Wives Fellowship, which focuses on building Christ-centered relationships and supporting women through their unique experience of seminary life. She said the following of her experience:
“We developed rich, enduring relationships with fellow students in the classroom and spouses through on-campus activities like Trinity Wives Fellowship, but I can’t stress enough the importance of fellowship in the local church for us.”
The Silvas turned to their church as a source of community. The local church provided them with a space to actively serve in ministry while supporting them both materially and spiritually. Kenny Silva spoke fondly of the community at Village Church. “Serving as an elder and then as their interim pastor provided a context of spiritual and ministerial formation that supercharged everything I learned in the classroom and library at TEDS,” he said. The opportunity to put his knowledge into practice allowed him to view his education with a fresh perspective.
“In the classroom, his office, and especially in his writing, Dr. Vanhoozer has cultivated my theological imagination like no other.”
Although his time in the classroom is coming to a close, the relationships he has built and the growth he has experienced will not be left behind at TEDS. This season has been a time of mentorship and guidance from professors who have had a lifelong impact on Silva’s ministry.
“No single professor has made more of an impact on me than my dissertation supervisor, Kevin Vanhoozer,” he said. “In the classroom, his office, and especially in his writing, Dr. Vanhoozer has cultivated my theological imagination like no other.”
Silva’s deep appreciation for his education extends beyond Dr. Vanhoozer’s mentorship as well. Many professors have influenced him to approach ministry in a unique manner. “I would be remiss to exclude other professors who’ve had an impact on me,” he said. “Bruce Fields showed me how to feel doctrine in a significant way. Tom McCall put me on my heels and taught me to pursue crystal clarity in thought, speech, and writing. David Luy modeled patient engagement and thoughtful dialogue in a way I’d not ever experienced before or since.”