The School of Life
Seminary education is to the church what basic training in the military is to war. Basic training doesn’t equip you to fight the battle. Only being in battle, being a veteran will make you a warrior and allow you to become accustomed to the sights, sounds, and smells of war.
In basic training, you learn military strategy, you learn about how to fight in different climates and terrains, but you don’t learn about war. You only learn about war by being in war. The local church is very much the same way. You really learn about local church ministry in terms of all eventualities and issues of war by being in the trenches of the local church.
You really learn about local church ministry . . . by being in the trenches of the local church.
What Seminary Can’t Teach
Seminary can’t prepare you for a tornado outbreak your second week on the job when half your community has been blown away. They don’t teach you that in seminary. There’s not a class for that. Or, if you have a daycare center that has bled away the church’s finances, there’s not any way to prepare for that other than being in the trenches and going through those things yourself.
In my first months and years in ministry, I faced many things like that. I realized that while there was so much benefit to studying the Puritans, reading the Reformers, studying systematic theology, and being able to parse Greek verbs, I learned the most in settings and situations that caused me to put my education into practice. I didn’t really know what I was doing. Just like war and battle, the trenches really prepare you for ministry.
Equip graduates with resources that can strengthen and deepen their walk with the Lord as they embark on new life seasons.
Seminary can by no means teach a minister everything he needs to know, but it puts strong tools in his box to set him up for a lifetime of learning and growing in the Lord.
Seminary is dangerous. Its gospel fragrance proves life-giving to many. But for others—far too many others—its aroma can lead to death.