“Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school. Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no resemblance to the job in question, and that the pay for graduates is far lower than other professions. You have just imagined the relationship between the Christian Church and her seminaries.”
~ From “The Seminary Bubble” by Jerry Bowyer. Continue reading here.
I’m currently in my third year of seminary. So the intense financial, physical, relational, emotional, psychological, and (am I allowed to say it?) spiritual strain of the seminary experience is particularly vivid to me (and my wife) right now. This awareness comes not only from personal experience–although that’s my primary source–but also from the stories of many of my peers. Some of those stories are rather heart-wrenching.
I’m recuringly bothered by this. I’m troubling with how straining the seminary experience typically is and how little attention the church (speaking broadly here) seems to be giving to this problem. To be blunt, it seems that many are actually pretty oblivious to the problems. And, mind you, these seminarians are the future leaders of the Church who are putting themselves through this because of their heart for and call to serve her.
I don’t have a solution to offer for this multifaceted dilemma (I’m just well aware that there’s a problem). So, I suppose I’m leaving this post in a bit of a depressing mood (sorry). However, my goal is not to be a “Debbie downer,” but to bring some awareness to this issue.
Read the rest of “The Seminary Bubble” here.
My seminary–Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
If you’re doing seminary without significant involvement in a local church, as the saying goes, “You’re doing it [sic] wrong.”
Over the past two years of seminary I’ve become more and more convinced of the church’s importance in my (and others’) seminary education. It takes a church to raise a Christian. And equally so, it takes a church to form a seminarian. As such, I am convinced that going through seminary without significant involvement in a local church (i.e., not just attending, but being involved in ministry) is incredibly harmful to one’s seminary experience and formation process.
Let me share with you at least three reasons why.
1. It’s a needed supplement to your seminary education.
We learn a lot of valuable stuff in seminary. But seminary can’t provide us with all the training we need. (Get your Greek out!) It’s a para- (“alongside”) church organization, not a para- “this-is-all-there-is!” organization.