The Flipsides of Seminary
Speaking as a person who has some seminary education both behind me and ahead of me (Certificate in Urban Ministries, Master of Arts in Educational Ministries, and currently working on a Master of Divinity), I’ve observed some positives as well as some negatives regarding seminary education (not necessarily in this order)
1. Every Christian leader or aspiring leader should attend
2. It prepares individuals for ministry in a church context or otherwise
3. It qualifies one for pastoral positions within local congregations
4. All who attend have a general knowledge of the Bible and a deep enough level of maturity
1. You can meet and connect with some great ministry leaders
2. You can also meet some examples of leaders who behave in ways that you learn not to emulate
3. It can help you think more deeply and even dismantle some theological practices that you once held so dear but need to let go of
4. It can humble you as you become aware of how little you actually know/still have to learn
5. You can move from a place of being shallow to a place of greater depth as you preach, teach, care for people, etc rather than just repeat tired cliques and ‘churchy’ language and responses that you used to.
6. It provides the opportunity to consider and reconsider your “call” to ministry and define it more clearly
1. It can lead you to a place where God is no longer central in your life and ministry practice and beginning to rely on oneself rather than Holy Spirit power
2. It can lead to arrogance – believing that you are smarter and even more spiritual than those who have not been
3. You can study and learn church history and ignore current culture and eventually become irrelevant in your effort to do ministry
4. There exist contexts where your voice will be disregarded as that which is not credible or worthy of paying attention to without a seminary degree/theological training.
5. Moving to a place where you are reading so many books about the Bible and about God that you treat the Bible and God (by your actions) as though neither are essential for the life you live or the ministry you hope to do.
6. You can loose sight of the practical ministry practices that you possessed prior to going to seminary and begin clinging to theories that would never work/be effective in practice.
7. Concepts and teaching methodologies are not usually relevant to a diversity of cultures/ethnicities – can be very euro-centric at times (depending upon where you attend)
That’s just to name a few, are there others that I have missed?