Should You Go To Seminary?

Because of my public ministry, I receive a lot of questions. One question that comes up from time to time is whether the questioner should go to seminary or the location that one should attend seminary.

I see myself in many of these people. 10 years ago, I was in the same boat, just accepted my “call to preach” and ready to go to school to get the entrance requirements into ministry.

Refine Your Tools

Ahh…little did I know that ministry had already started. You don’t go to school to get the entrance requirements into ministry, you go to seminary to refine the tools of ministry that you are already exercising.

Also don’t’ expect seminary to help you determine the kind of ministry that you are to enter. Well unless you want to go into the parish. Those of us in other ministries have to kind of feel our way around without much help.

Don’t expect that anyone will care about your ministry other than the ones whom God is calling you to help. Some churches will be very supportive. Some will truly not care and some will go out of their way to demonstrate their lack of interest in the ministry God calls you.

Diploma Is Paper Without Function

Your Diploma is a piece of paper. Yes…a very expensive piece of paper without much functionality. It is not a key to open doors that you didn’t have access to before (that could happen, but probably wont)…

What seminary did for me is that it opened the door to interdenominational ministry as well as encouraged me to recognize the gifts that I had before attending. Did I need the degree to start a ministry dedicated to the Black Preaching Tradition? No. But would I have without it? Probably not.

I get calls from people pretty often asking where can they find a church to minster. They want to be a pastor, what should they do. No church ever calls them back. What do you do?

I Loved Seminary

At the end of the day. Seminary can be helpful and valuable. But please don’t expect that it will do what it will not do. Seminary will be a fun time. But remember that ministry happened before you got to seminary. And you will do it after.

Should you go…it depends. but if you go, allow it to refine the ministry that God is already leading you in right now…which is what brought you to seminary in the first place.

About the Author shermancox

  • Zeusage

    I LIKED it! Honest. Well written, To the point(s),Tantalizing headings.Insightful, This article, Could be applied to other “should I” questions.

  • thank you so much for all you do to help the body of
    Christ, keep up the good work's

  • Really love this post buddy is truly a nugget; i already working on re-sharing it as ere informed.

  • Aaron

    A very good article. I love that school just really builds upon what God has already put within you. It does refine. thank you for this article. Be blessed Min ARP

  • Rev. Joyce Irvin Harris

    I believe that seminary is as important for one called to ministry as medical school is for one seeking to be a doctor. Seminary cannot replace the calling and equipping of God for specific area of service. However, seminary gives the minister a chance to develop a foundation in the areas of knowledge necessary to prepare us for 21st century ministry.
    I question the judgment of any church that calls a pastor who does not have at least Bible College education.

    I believe the seminary curriculum needs to change so that seminarians are not be permitted to graduate without 9-12 hours of business administration courses including courses in leadership, finance, and nonprofit administration.

  • James E. Hume

    What a great article. I agree that seminary “refines the tools” we begin with in ministry. Initially my calling was re-confirmed during one of my classes. This for me was mind settling. Since I had not been in school for 28 years, it opened my eyes to several megatrends transforming the world at the dawn of this decade. It also enabled me to learn three of the several styles of preaching and to consider which was most effective for me. On a whole I left a more knowledgable, organized, connected, and effective minister and preacher.

  • Good article. For those who can afford to, and able to get into a good “accredited” seminary, I say go. I have pastored four churches. I am preparing to organize a church as I write this response. Seminary doesn't necessarily open a lot of doors; God does. Seminary took a lot of the mystery about the bible and explained it in a practicle way; where the bible didnt seem as mysterious. It challenged my theology, my thinking and broadened my horizons. I am a graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Ga., which happens to be the greatest seminary in the world. I hold a Master of Divinity Degree from that institution. I hold the Diploma of Practical Theology from the International Seminary in Plymouth, Florida. All of this cost me a 200k tab. Was it worth it? Yes! My life was greatly enhanced in ways, I cant really explain. In closing, I warn you. Getting higher education teaches you to think “critically” and on a different level than most people you meet. You will become very strange to most people and a lot of common talk, that many people do, will not interest you. Your mind will have been challenged in such a way, that your thinking will be more godly as well as scholarly. You'll never be the same in Jesus' Name. Any questions about seminary contact me at: revwljackson2756@yahoo.com or twitter @PastorWLJackson!

  • Rev. T E Shelton

    Very much to the point. I hope this gives true in sight to other readers.