There was a time when Bryce Blank would’ve been a typical Perkins student – a young person who entered seminary immediately after college, with plans to become a United Methodist pastor.

The student body has changed over the years, with more second career students, but Perkins still feels like a good fit for Blank. He’s a third year M.Div. student and candidate for ordination in the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

“The student population is definitely a mixed bag of people, but it was nice to see a good number in the same spot as me, too,” he said. “And the people at Perkins were very welcoming and hospitable when I visited.”

A graduate of Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota (“Home to the World’s Only Corn Palace,” Blank notes proudly), he hails from Rapid City, the second most populous city in South Dakota. So how did a young man from South Dakota end up in Dallas, Texas? The answer: personal connections.

“My campus pastor’s campus pastor, the Rev. David Scroggin, lives here,” he said. “That connection led to my job at a church here and that’s how I found out about Perkins.”

Since the fall of 2019, when his studies began at Perkins, Blank has worked as Director of Student Ministries at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. Scroggin is the associate pastor there.

Blank ultimately aspires to pastor a church.

“I’m really enjoying youth ministry, and I’d like to do college ministry at some point, but expect I’ll end up in a local church as a pastor at the end of the day,” he said. “I’m going to go where God calls me on that one.”

He’s especially appreciative of Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner’s pastoral care class.

“One of the biggest things that I learned at Perkins is the power of presence in ministry,” he said. “That’s a very simple thing to do for people, but it’s a way of being a symbol of God’s presence in their life.”

In coming to Perkins, and looking forward, Blank says he’s guided by Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (NIV)

“It’s a constant reminder that, at times, I can get completely lost and feel helpless, but I have to find a way to move forward and find positivity,” he said. “In this phase of life, I have to trust that I’m making the best decisions I can, and then move forward.”

Another guiding principle are words he heard every day while growing up:

“Every morning, my dad would say to my brother and me: ‘You’re not fully dressed until you put on your smiles,’” he recalled. “Life is what you make of it. You can choose to have a crappy day or to have a great day. I try to live into that every day and make each day the best it can possibly be.”

Music is also a big part of Blank’s life. Before the pandemic, he regularly attended Perkins’ weekly chapel services and played guitar in the chapel’s contemporary worship band. Music is also a source of spiritual nourishment, whether he’s playing or just listening.

“I feel most connected to God though music,” he said. “It doesn’t always have to be Christian. I’m all over the board – from early 80s pop rock to contemporary Christian artists. It all makes me feel God’s presence.”

A few more things you need to know about Bryce Blank: he has a puppy named Ray and two brothers, one who’s an identical twin. Also, he’s a diehard fan of the San Francisco 49ers.

“In South Dakota, we don’t have our own pro teams, so you just get to pick,” he said. “My dad was a fan and he raised me as a 49ers fan.”