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Why Seminary?

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Some people have asked on email and in the comments why go to seminary. I'm 32, have a family, a great church ... why now? Well for one, I do think diplomas are overrated, but here's a little bit of my thinking:
1) Tuition is paid for by the church. So why not? What a great gift the church is willing to give to pastors. It could be as much as $7,000 by the time it's all said and done.

2) Continuing education is a value the church and I share. I've got a lot of real-life experience, I've been to tons of conferences and have lots of practical training. I'm excited to hear from the other side.

3) I lack a pastoral degree. I've always felt that a degree is important, and a business degree says a lot about my skills, but not a lot about my heart. I've always wanted to go back and get a ministry degree. I hope that this rounds me out a little better in the big picture of things.

4) I would like a new challenge/experience. Now that I'm 12 years into youth ministry, I think it'll be fun to hear what professors think ministry looks like.
Here's another reality - everyone that I look up to in ministry, well not everyone but MANY, especially the old school ones, have seminary degrees. Of course, Jesus didn't ... Paul didn't either ... Spurgeon didn't ... and I certainly don't think you have to ... but I like the idea for me.



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:34 AM |

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At 7/30/2007, Blogger Nick said...

Thanks for the post!
I don't have a seminary degree, and am not sure I will ever get one. (Unless God opens the door for me and I know He is leading me to do it, but I don't think he has so far!) The main reasons are the 2 kids, wife, full time job, almost full time ministry, and right now probably the biggest is money! I know God can provide the money if he wants me to go, but does he want me to go???

The lack of paper has prevented me from getting positions, but then I look at Acts 4:13 and I know that God will not hold me back because of it, only man will. I also draw encouragement from seeing what God can do through people like you mentioned in the post with the addition of other modern greats like Perry Noble and others.
I am kind of like you where I have grown up in ministry, in a pastors home, I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly (especially from the legalistic viewpoint, etc...) and I believe God has allowed me to learn and experience a lot that others have not learned. I am still young, but I feel that I have been a lifetime student of ministry so far through my experiences, conferences, books, etc. I am not anti-seminary and I don’t think I know it all, as well I believe in continuing education, but seminary has not really been a major priority so far for me, that may be the dumbest thing anyone has ever heard, but its true!
You made some great points in your post. That is why I was curious what was driving you towards it since you have such an "experienced" background!

Congratulations on the decision to do it! It is great that your church is helping you financially as well.

At 7/30/2007, Blogger Joshua Griffin said...

Right on man ... yeah, I'm not a huge fan of school ...my wife is like a consummate student, so that's where we're opposite. BUT, I'm pretty excited about this new direction. We'll see if they let me in! :)


At 7/30/2007, Blogger Chris Day said...

Josh man that's awesome. I myself don't even have a BA but am now into my 11th year as a paid youth pastor. I absolutely love what I do. Sometimes I wish I had the education too. I am looking hard at possibly applying to Fuller now that I have completed enough years in full-time ministry and they will now look past my not having a BA.

Do I want to go elsewhere? No way I LOVE my church. But I want to be a better student of theology and I think seminary would help me in that area. Congrats on taking this on.


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