3 questions about seminary

For those who don’t like watching videos, here’s what I want to know:

  1. Is seminary beneficial? Is the education helpful? Will it be something I’m glad I did when I look back?
  2. Is seminary a necessary requirement for you to hire someone? If you’re looking to hire a student pastor, worship leader, or small groups guy, does the fact that they’ve been to seminary help in their interviewing process?
  3. What seminaries would you recommend? Which ones are people talking about? Do any seminaries raise a red flag?

Your comments, insights, and suggestions are all very appreciated!

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6 comments

  1. I know that these questions were direct towards pastors and others that have already been to seminary, but I thought that I could add my thoughts as someone that God has called to full-time pastoral ministry after college and seminary.

    1. For me, seminary absolutely seems to be beneficial. Other than God specifically telling me that I need to go to seminary, I feel like seminary is beneficial for those you’re in leadership over so that they feel comfort in that you generally know what you are talking about, as well as for you so that you can “rightly divide the word of truth.” After speaking to many people at seminary, the general consensus is that numerous questions are presented in seminary that you would never have thought of without that experience. Also, it is easy to be involved in ministry while in seminary, so your ministry growth will not be put on hold for two or three years during seminary.

    2. I can’t really answer this question because I’m on the same end of the hiring that you’re on, but again I’ll say that the more training you’ve gone through, the more trusting people will become about your leadership capability.

    3. Because I live in Arkansas and normally only get the Southern Baptist point of view, the two seminaries I hear about the most are Southwestern (SWBTS) and Southern (SBTS). I also hear plenty of good things about New Orleans (NOBTS), but am not very familiar with it. I am beginning at The College at Southwestern this fall, so SWBTS is my area of expertise you might say. SBTS is a very good seminary from everything I hear and also a very good choice. Plus, I just love Al Mohler. While every seminary is similar, each one has its emphasis and you would have to check out each one for yourself.

    Just to conclude, we know that the decision for seminary is ultimately based on God’s calling for your life personally, so prayer is definitely a priority in the decision process. My decision was very easy to make, as God spoke clearly and quickly. My only problem is that I was way too slow to commit to God’s calling.

    1. Thanks, Jared. The only ones I really heard about when I lived in Tennessee were the same ones you mentioned. Since being at Moody, Dallas Theological is the one mentioned most. I definitely agree it’s a matter of God’s calling. My goal is to obey when I do get a sense that God has spoken on the issue.

  2. I know a guy that did not go to Bible School or Seminary yet he raised one of the largest youth groups in the nation in the late 90’s early 2000’s. He now is the head pastor of one of the largest churches in his area reaching 3000-40000 every week.

    However, I also have a friend that has gone to seminary has written countless books and is an evangelical pastor that started a youth camp that is going global. (if i mentioned either name you would probably recognize them.)

    Therefore it REALLY does come down to what God is telling you. I found this article in Forbes that put it into perspective for me as I am struggling with the same situation: go to seminary or dont go to seminary.

    I hope it helps your thought process: http://blogs.forbes.com/jerrybowyer/2011/04/20/the-seminary-bubble/

    God Bless

  3. I’ve been a pastor for over 10 years. Served in a church of nearly 3,000. Didn’t go to seminary, but met my ordination requirements through a non-traditional study track that our denomination (the Wesleyan Church) offers. 23 classes were needed for ordination, and they offered those classes in a week-long format in different locations around the country 7-8 times a year. They were taught by seminary professors and pastors with a masters or doctorate. Most classes required pre-class and or post-class work. I really enjoyed this format, and was ordained in 2005.

    The Wesleyan Church has just started a new seminary called Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. It is mean to be very affordable and very practical. One of the biggest problems today is that students graduate from seminary with huge debts and take low-paying jobs as pastors. Another problem is that some seminaries aren’t as practical as they need to be, or as accessible for pastors who are in-ministry and can’t move away for three years. So, Wesley Seminary offers a strong online presence and one week or two week in-residence classes that make it easier for pastors to attend.

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