My Visit to Seminary

Blogs about Heather, college, youth ministry

I had the opportunity this week to visit a seminary.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think.  Going into college, I was just excited about getting an undergrad degree.  As college progressed, I began to think more and more about seminary.  Seminary is basically grad school that is only focused on theological degrees.

The same concerns that I had before visiting seminary are the same concerns I have now.  Which is discouraging, but at the same time all my questions were answered and now I have a lot to think about.

Here are some of the things I’m thinking about.

  1. Seminary seems like an extension of my undergraduate degree in ministry.  Most of the people who attend seminary have their undergraduate in something completely unrelated to ministry or theology.  Most of the classes they are taking I have already taken.  Granted, they are at a much higher level of difficulty, but they are similar.  A lot of churches require for youth ministers to have a seminary degree, but I wonder if, because my undergrad is essentially the same thing, if it really matters.
  2. If in fact it does matter, do I want to be in a church that requires seminary?  I know that it’s extremely important to have training in theology and such; that is why my undergrad is in ministry. Duhhh.  But I don’t know if I desire to work in a fancy-pants church.  I honestly would rather just go to the inner-city and live among the desperate and give them the raw gospel.  You don’t need seminary to do that.  Heck, you don’t need college to do that.  Yet I am in college trying to make myself smarter.  I’m afraid that if I get any smarter, I’ll become super-arrogant.  I’ve exhibited the signs.  There may be no turning back.
  3. Also, what is more important, education or experience?  I’m completing an undergrad in ministry, a program similar to many seminaries.  I am also already a youth minister while in college.  Who will someone hire, a person who graduated from seminary, or a person who has already served as the head honcho of a youth group for a few years?  I’m just saying.
  4. Am I going to be able to use the extra theology in ministry?  Again this comes back to arrogance.  I don’t want to make myself so smart, that I’m not able to relate to teenagers anymore (especially inner-city teens).  There was one guy that I talked to this week, and he has a similar path that I’m taking-undergrad in youthmin, youthminister at a church, attending seminary.  When I asked if he’s applying seminary, he didn’t convince me with his answer.  He then revealed he’s thinking about becoming a head pastor one day, and then it was clear to me that his seminary classes were more for that.
  5. I’m a girl. *shock*  From what I hear, the girls on a seminary campus are one of two breeds: super-shy awkward girl or super-crazy liberal feminist.  I’m neither.  My theology is surprisingly to some not feminist (even though I’m a female in ministry) and I’m not shy and not awkward by accident.  I also heard that females on campus are like cars-taken or broken. Soooo basically…… well I don’t have to say how that makes me feel (pretty self-explanatory).

Readers, don’t think that I’m saying seminary isn’t important.  I’m just orating the thoughts sprouting into my head so that I can iron them out.  Any feedback would be nice :)

Oh, also, if you are a youth minister who went to a seminary, you mind giving me your outlook?

One thought on “My Visit to Seminary

  1. I have no seminary experience but have plenty of friends who do. I've also been a J-man and have worked with a lot of seminary people and structures that require a seminary education. Unsolicited, my take on your questions is:

    1. You hit on the importance of having a broader base in your education; some of your seminary classes will be redundant. Friends I've had with ministry degrees found seminary easier than those that didn't. However, those that have other degrees use their seminary to figure out how to be a better Christian nurse, accountant, etc. I talk to people with ministry degrees and MDivs every week who wish they had a biz degree because they need to be tentmakers in closed countries overseas and didn't take classes in college to help them. I always encourage students going into ministry to pursue a different undergraduate degree.

    2. Requirements for seminary training are extra-biblical. That said, they're a fact of life particularly in the SBC. But a master's degree is expected in so many fields these days it's not too big a surprise. It's a signaling device– signaling that you were committed to the work required. Which seminary you get your degree from signals a good bit about your training.

    3. Andy Stanley has a quote that says something like “It takes you 3 years to get your MDiv, and then it takes us another 10 years to get that MDiv out of you.” He would say experience is much more important, and I know some churches modeled on his model often won't hire seminary degrees (seriously).

    4. Just about everyone I know answers “yes” to this question. It helps them teach the Bible, counsel marriages, etc. They don't regret it.

    5. That's mostly true, guys in seminary are VULTURES. But trust in God.

    Some of your professors may disagree vehemently with some of the above and I would defer to their knowledge.

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