Posted On July 30, 2018

Dear Seminarian: A Little Advice

by | Jul 30, 2018 | Dear Seminarian, Featured

Dear Seminarian,

It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in my first seminary class. I was excited as that first professor walked into the room, wrote his name on the board, and proceeded to hand out the class syllabus. My excitement quickly migrated to being overwhelmed when the paper hit my hand. As I look back now, more than a decade later, I would give that young man five nuggets of advice:

Be Patient: I was eager to learn all that seminary had to offer, but I was also naive. I wasn’t going to become a Greek exegete, homiletics’ expert, or theological scholar overnight. In truth, I wouldn’t after four years of seminary and holding a Masters of Theology (Th.M.) diploma in my hand either, no matter what the piece of paper said. Don’t get overwhelmed. Do what you can without sacrificing your marriage, health, or sanity!

Study for the Long-Run: My friend, you are at the beginning of vocational ministry. What you learn in seminary is only opening the door for a lifetime of study. Seminary is wonderful at disseminating information, but the real gift of seminary is the tools it puts in your hands. It will teach you to think theologically, read voraciously, exegete the original languages, and communicate effectively. Seminary will point you to the right books, authors, and history. You will learn how to study, read, write, teach, counsel, and preach. It is an equipping institution, not a finishing school. Learn how to use the tools of the pastorate, so that you can use and grow in them throughout the life of your ministry.

Don’t Forsake the Church for the Academy: Seminary can be demanding. Add to that the need to provide for your family, and there is little spare time. The seminary student must be engaged in the local church throughout their seminary days. I look back and wish that I had been more involved in the local church. A few lower grades and little more service would have been good for my soul and those who I later had the opportunity to serve.

Find a Professor and Don’t Let Him Go: As a student, I was reluctant to make myself known to my professors. I would sit in their classes but never scheduled office meetings, lunches, or seek advice. I was concerned about being a “fanboy,” and having the wrong motives. Though there is some wisdom in this concern, I erred in not finding a professor and making sure that I learned all I could from him. Find a man of character. A man that you respect. One you can learn from. And make him your new best friend. Glean everything you can from him. It will be helpful in the present and the future when you need someone to call on for advice.

Study Devotionally: I have never understood the logic that pastors need to have separate devotional times from their sermon and teaching preparation. If a pastor’s sermon and teaching preparation are not devotional, affecting his own soul, there is something wrong. The same can be said for the seminary student. You are not at seminary to earn A’s. You are at seminary to be equipped for the pastorate. The best equipping that can happen in your life is growing in knowledge, devotion, and delight in the Lord. As you study, study with an eye towards Him. Do not rise from that desk until your heart is inflamed and stirred by something you have read, studied, or written. The Bible is not a textbook. Your studies are not purely academic. And your education is not essentially a means to employment. Seek the Lord now in your studies. It is a lesson learned well now, for it only gets more difficult with the demands of the pastorate.

Finally, let me just remind you to enjoy this opportunity. I have met men from around the world, who would literally give their right arm to enjoy what you are experiencing. Don’t take it for granted. Enjoy it to the glory of God. It is a gift. A gift to you and to the people you will have the privilege of serving in the near future.

Related Posts

Naked and Unashamed

Naked and Unashamed

Genesis 2:24-25, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” As Moses concludes his narrative on the creation of Adam and Eve, he...

How to Study Scripture to Show Yourself Approved to God

How to Study Scripture to Show Yourself Approved to God

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “How can we study Scripture to show ourselves approved?” What You'll Hear on this Episode The Context of 2 Timothy 2:15. What 2 Timothy 2:15 means. Whether 2 Timothy 2:15 means we can earn our way into heaven....

Taken Out of Man

Taken Out of Man

Genesis 2:21-23, “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the...

Our Greatest Need

Our Greatest Need

On today’s For Life and Godliness show, Drew considers knowing our great need of Christ, how to be sure you are known by God, and availing yourself of the means of grace. What you’ll hear in this episode Critically assessing our needs versus our ultimate need for...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share42
Tweet17
Email
Reddit
Share