There is probably no better place for a young guy to grow spiritually, at an exponential rate, than in a solid, biblical seminary. I believe the two other places that take precedence in the spiritual formation of a young Christian is marriage and a ministry assignment within the context of a local church. No matter how many podcasts pastors you have listened to, how many theology blogs you have read and how many Christian conferences that you have attended – it will not prepare you as excellently and expediently as seminary will. Seminary, when approached with the right motives and spirit, is the seed-bed from which solid, Christ-centered growth will be perpetuated and solidified within the heart of the student. Even if you are not being called by God into full-time ministry, the rich learning experience you will acquire while in seminary – can and will be applied in every single sphere of your life, regardless of vocation.
Here are three reasons why every guy should go to seminary:
1. Seminary Stretches The Comfortable Confines Of Your Faith. The Bible bluntly tells us that the divine power we have received from Jesus has given us everything we need for a triumphant, faithful life (2 Pet. 1:3). When Christ richly dwells in us, we are filled with His wisdom. This is the very same wisdom that had the power to create the entire universe (Prov. 3:19). I believe that we barely even begin to tap into the power that is available to us. This is because an uncertain environment scares us at best and is avoided by us at worst.
Your future might be uncertain – but what is more important is that you know Who controls that future.
Seminary will cost you money. Jesus has all the money in the world. Seminary will be physically demanding. Jesus said that His grace is sufficient for you. Seminary will provide an experience where you will have to surrender before Jesus your accolades of yesteryear and realize that without a passionate relationship with Jesus, you most likely will not finish well. Imagine that every single day, you would go into your kitchen knowing that God has provided you with food. When you would go to sleep, your fridge would be empty. But you would sleep peacefully knowing that God has provided in the past and will continue to provide in the future. In the morning, you would wake up to a miraculous abundance. Imagine what that would do to your faith? You would be ready to move mountains. Nothing would be impossible for you (Matt. 17:20). I remember one semester in seminary when the funds to go forward were conspicuously absent. My wife and I prayed that God would provide. The next morning, I receive an unexpected wire transfer thereby covering my tuition cost for that particular semester. This stretched my faith because I changed the way I pray. I now pray with expectancy – that a big God – will do big things – for His glory. Seminary provides ample opportunity for your faith to be stretched beyond the comfortable snuggie of familiarity.
2. Seminary Demands Of You Something That You Are Not Capable Of. Many of my peers referred to seminary as cemetery. They were not exaggerating. Click here to read about my experience with learning two new languages. Humanly speaking, it is impossible to go to seminary, work a full-time job, take care of your spouse, serve in a local-church and pursue a well-loved craft. But I love that in Jesus’ economy, everything is possible and impossible is nothing. Jesus says that everything is possible for one who believes (Mark. 9:23).
The more you learn, the more you will realize how much you still need to learn.
As you dig deep into the doctrines of grace, Jesus’ love for you will become more real than ever before and the love for your Lord will be kindled, more than ever before. There is seldom a more opportune environment for this to occur than in a seminary.
Pursuing a seminary degree is not the ultimate form of displaying your faith, but it is a proven opportunity to test not what you are made of but what Jesus wants to make out of you.
3. Seminary Provides A Discipline Process That You Personally Would Never Adhere To. I have seen many young guys get discouraged with the pressures of seminary and drop out. I can get a free education by listening to a podcast they say. Every teaching app is neatly arranged in a theology/teaching folder on their iPad and iPhone. The ironic thing is that one hundred percent of those people providing such quality, gospel-drenched content are actually teaching in a seminary – and undoubtedly went to seminary. We are living in a brave-new technological world where we can get all learning for free you say? Yes you are right.
But sometimes, a good old-school classroom with a pastor/seminary professor can catapult you into a spiritual maturity you will not get by distracted listening while grabbing your favorite caffeine concoction.
Getting a theological education from a podcast is super simple. You can play or pause with the tap of your thumb. Christian conferences are usually super fun, I will admit. Buying books from Amazon and then receiving the delivery is as euphoric as ever. No one will hold you accountable for not fully listening to that free podcast lecture. But we learn more in the grueling trenches, wrestling with Hebrew and parsing Greek. When you are going to seminary, you have an entire team behind you that is praying for you, supporting you and providing encouragement. You most likely will not ever wake up at 5am – five times a week – to attend class – based on your own will or exertion. Studying for tests pushes you to rely on the mind that God gave you – in ways in which you probably have not relied on it before. Paul tells us to be so disciplined so as to run the race and win the prize. He says that we go into a strict training regiment. Seminary is the environment in which this discipline is shaped, formed, developed and perpetuated in your life (1 Cor. 9:24-25).
Jesus loves to take broken vessels and make them into bold vehicles that will deliver the truth of what He accomplished on the cross for those who put their faith and trust in that ultimate sacrifice.
It is not so much about seminary as it is about our Savior. Jesus wants to perpetuate within you a godly ambition from an early age. Life is short, time is ticking and many people do not yet know Jesus, yet.
Seminary is an army where your skills as a soldier for Christ are shaped and sharpened, for a life-time of ministry – so begin well with a great seminary education.
If you could remain for a time, in an intentional environment where the character of Christ would be cultivated within you — there is no reason that you should not start praying and pursuing this, starting today.
Question: Are you considering going to seminary? Have you gone to a seminary? What was your experience? What questions do you have about starting to pursue a seminary education? I would love to discuss any of these questions with you. Let me know what you think in the comments below this post!