This week, thousands of students are beginning their time on our Southern Baptist Seminary campuses. For many of these, this will be the first foray into a strange new world. It is an education designed for those who plan to lead in churches, Christian ministries, and serve on the mission field. The time at one of our seminaries can be life-changing and prepare young men and women for a lifetime of successful service. In this post, I want to give 3 tips for making the most of your time in seminary.
1. Remember you are a Student
More than one student has fallen into the trap of forgetting that the seminary is a school. Sure, we pray before most classes. We emphasize spiritual formation and discipline. We have chapel several times a week. Your professors are concerned about your life, our family, your calling, and your spiritual growth. But. . . and please don’t miss this. . . Seminary is school! There is homework, reading, writing, class to attend. Also, you can earn an “F” and be kicked out too.
Please don’t do that! We will all be sad.
Seminary is, for most parts, graduate-level work. This means that your reading and writing will need to be at a different level that it was before. It is essential that you put the time in and make sure that you keep up.
The exact same discipline that you employed to graduate college (or High School) should be applied here. All the study skills and in-class skills you have developed over the years will be necessary too. If you didn’t do well in the earlier studies, reach out some someone and ask for help. We really do want you to succeed, but the only way you will is to remember that you are a student.
2. Remember you are a Christian
One of the saddest moments in seminary education happens when a student forgets that they are a Christian. We know it because they cheat on an exam or copy a paper. In some cases, their time at seminary is the first experience some students have away from home. Most of our seminaries are in big cities with lots of sin and distractions. Temptation is available, but remember you are a Christian.Let your time in seminary be a tool for spiritual growth. Click To Tweet
Let your time in seminary be a tool for spiritual growth. There are things you will encounter, learn, experience during these years that will shape you. You will dive deeper into the Word. You will be in intense Christian relationships. You will hear good preaching and be surrounded by godly men and women. Remember that you are a Christian and seize these gifts for your Christian growth and edification.
3. Remember you are training for Ministry
My seminary has an unambiguous mission statement: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission.
I am sure that the other 6 SBC seminaries have a similar statement. You can look if you want. I don’t have time right now…
You see, we exist to help you find and fulfill your Christian calling. Our classes, our activities, our encouragement. . . even our personal callings, are to equip students to serve the church and the nations. In other words, your professors are not at the seminary because it is a job or because we want to tell you something. Nope – we are here to serve the Lord by helping you be ready for God’s ministry.
Seminary is not a time for you to skate by as quickly as possible or to try to see how little you can learn. On the other hand, it is also not a place that you should stay forever. It is the place for you to hone ministry skills and access more in-depth knowledge that will help you over the long haul wherever God leads you.Seminary is not a time for you to skate by as quickly as possible or to try to see how little you can learn. On the other hand, it is also not a place that you should stay forever... Click To Tweet
You have no idea where God will lead you; however, you can be sure that you will never have another opportunity to learn, train, be equipped, and to develop lasting friendships like you have right now during your seminary time.
I guess a good phrase might be: