January 21, 2013

Seminary, Time of Opportunity

Seminary days present unique opportunities that students and their families may never have again. This experience is not to be squandered. Students and seminary wives, who are wise, use the lessons learned and the blessings given in their post-seminary ministries and lives.

Be fostered in learning. Seminarians and their wives are surrounded by learning resources. Vast theological libraries are at the doorstep. Highly-educated professors proclaim the truth each day. Students can interact freely about what God is teaching them without fear of censure by those with a non-Christian bias. Guest speakers, who are at the top of their speciality, make regular visits to campus. These are benefits that will not be there as you begin a mission work in Siberia or accept a call to the Morris Run Methodist Church. Soak it up now.

Enjoy unparalleled community. An institution where everyone embraces the Bible as the foundation for life and wants to be equipped for the same sort of calling is rarely seen outside a seminary. The people there may have different backgrounds, personalities and skin colors, but they have a strong bond of fellowship and community. Some of the relationships forged in that environment continue for life even though God's call may separate people by continents. As caring as your future ministry participants are, they will never completely understand what you are all about as well as a seminary graduate will. Enjoy it now.

Prepare before the big game. Local churches welcome seminarians' involvement. And, the congregation is usually more forgiving of mistakes made by those who are "just learning" than it is of an ordained pastors' blunders. This is the perfect time to practice your spiritual gifts or to minister to others outside your comfort zone. The local church you attend now could be a foretaste of "your" church of the future.  In ministry, lofty knowledge from seminary books needs to be applied to real life, which is not full of people living in ivory towers. Start participating now.

Practice now what you will preach later. While college can be a carefree season where students live it up, seminary can be a time to live it out. You should not think of seminary days as a vacation from sharing the truth you know and modeling behavior that befits followers of Christ. No Christians, including those with seminary training, get to do that. A seminary professor told me that students who neglect church attendance now will be the pastors who are rebuking their congregation for the same thing in the future. It is very discouraging to see people in your ministry neglecting their commitments, acting selfishly toward others and not taking biblical advice and preaching seriously. Do now what you expect others to do later.

Seminary can be a special time in your life. May you enjoy the opportunities while recognizing that the future starts now.


  1. When my husband was in seminary, I figured it was a great time to start doing hospitality. In our tiny seminary housing kitchen, with my still-developing (okay, nonexistent) culinary skills, I thought people's expectations would be really low and they'd be forgiving. They were. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to (literally!) PRACTICE hospitality before the bar was raised as a pastor's wife.

    1. Well, I'm glad that I've benefited from that "practice" because I always felt so comfortable and at home in your home!


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