Today is the final day of my final on-campus class for my current (and possibly final) degree. After today, I will only have one online class in order to graduate in December. My wife is already celebrating.
It’s been a good class and has reminded me why I’ve loved my time at Southern (and Boyce). There may be inherent weaknesses in the modern seminary model, but overall I am grateful for the experience.
What’s So Great About Seminary?
1. It’s a great privilege to be instructed in God’s Word by godly men. The best professors are those who love the Bible and love God’s people. Such pastor-scholars are abundant at Southern Seminary.
2. It’s one way to become competent in many skills useful in ministry. You can’t learn everything in the classroom, but there is much you can learn.
3. It’s an opportunity to make lifelong friends who will encourage your ministry. This is something I was slow to figure out. Making friends is much more helpful than making the grade.
4. It’s a intense experience that will train you in perseverance, a quality essential for pastors. If you can learn to manage the pressures of seminary, you will be more prepared to survive the pressures of the pastorate.
5. It’s a safe setting for theological reflection and to confirm the reliability of the scriptures. On the many secondary issues, students will often try on several positions before they settle on a firm conviction based on God’s Word. As much as possible, this development should be done outside the pulpit.
6. It forces most students to live in greater dependence upon God. I’m always amazed at the young couples who move across the country to attend Southern. This type of faith and sacrifice will produce pastors who are willing to serve in hard places.
7. It’s a time to clarify the mode of ministry to which God is calling you. Many young men come to seminary with an open-ended sense of God’s calling. As they step out in obedience, their path becomes increasingly clear.
8. It’s a chance for younger men to gain valuable maturity. Those extra three years of following Christ are one of the greatest benefits of coming to seminary. It sometimes feels like a holding pattern, but spiritual maturity is measured in decades – not years.
9. It’s a system that screens out many who are unqualified for the ministry. There are many students who withdraw from seminary, often questioning their fitness for the pastorate. While this is sad, it would be much worse if their unreadiness was discovered after they entered the ministry.
10. It’s a time that eventually will come to an end. Yes, even the marathon timetable will eventually reach its objective. As I approach graduation, the time spend on my degree seems increasingly short. I suspect it will one day seem a very brief season of my life.
What do you think? You can add your thoughts in the comments below.