Tygrett, a religion major in the class of 2000, relishes the mystery in life.
Tygrett encourages others to embrace the unknown in his first full-length book, “Becoming Curious,” released earlier this year.
Tygrett is a teaching pastor at Heartland Community Church in Rockford, Illinois.
He says his time at MVNU developed a passion for preaching and a desire to lead and teach in the area of spiritual formation, something he relishes today.
Upon entering MVNU as a freshman, Tygrett remembers “thinking I had everything figured out,” as many young adults do. He encountered, however, people and situations that facilitated growth in many different aspects of his life: not only academic, but social and spiritual as well.
His plans, he explained, were “short-sighted,” and ignored some of the passions, hopes and dreams God had placed within him.
However, insights and experiences that came during his time at MVNU changed his goals and opened up paths he hadn’t previously considered. “I realized that God had so much more in mind for me than I knew,” he said.
Tygrett said he often learned “the hard way,” through experiences that were not always pleasant.
The wisdom he gained was the knowledge that God is gentle and intentional when we need Him to be, but also forceful when we need to be pushed and challenged. In those difficult, yet formative times, Tygrett said he relied on friendships that began at MVNU and are still a part of his life 17 years later, something he “wouldn’t trade for the world.”
Tygrett said that the friendships he made during his time at MVNU represent the crossroads between growth and development, friendship and joy, as well as hardship and struggle.
Tygrett’s advice for students is to leave room for mystery.
“Make plans? Yes! Set goals? Please! However, make room for others and love the place where you are,” Tygrett said. “God is quite capable of entering into today if we look for him — if we wait for him.”
Tygrett’s new book, “Becoming Curious,” discusses the difference between waiting on God and becoming complacent.
The book began as a dare, when a writing coach challenged him to write 1,000 words a day and pointed out that in as little as a month, he would have enough content for a book. The consistent act of daily writing ended in a 192-page book. The book is available through Amazon in paperback or Kindle format.
“I started there, just letting the words flow, and in the process, the idea of curiosity as part of our spiritual formation bubbled to the surface,” he said.
After doing research, Tygrett learned that young children ask up to 400 questions per day, yet questioning tapers off dramatically as we age.
“When I hear Jesus say, ‘Unless you change and become like a child, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven,’ I wonder if He means become those 300 to 400 questions a day kind of kids?” Tygrett asked.
"The truth,” Tygrett said, “is that Jesus spent more time evoking people’s curiosity than He did reinforcing their concept of certainty.”
Tygrett began asking as many questions as he could.
“What if the key to our spiritual growth,” he asked, “is not getting all the right answers, but discovering what the right questions might be and asking them — even if they lead to more questions?”
In a society that has become fixed on correctness, ambiguity may be the start to reformation.
“The book deals with questions that Jesus asked or was asked, and how those questions come to us in the present day,” Tygrett said. Jesus’ questions can help us embrace identity, forgiveness and love, among many other aspects of our lives, he said.
Tygrett is currently working on a second book detailing how memories influence spiritual formation. It is set to be published in early 2019.
Tygrett is also the author of “The Jesus Rhythm,” a 25-page philosophy for life released in 2012. To connect with Tygrett, visit his website www.caseytygrett.com or follow him on twitter and Instagram @cktygrett.