I decided to quit my job to go to seminary

• February 1, 2008 • Comments (0)

(This story–our first!!–comes from the webmaster at goingtoseminary.com. – Mark)

About four years ago my wife and I moved from the south to the not-quite-north. The move had lots of factors… FAR too many to go into here. But we packed the car and headed on the journey with a couple thousand dollars in the bank and an apartment waiting for us. We were young, newly married, and the risk factor wasn’t very high… because if all else failed we could still move in with our parents. The main reason we ended up in our city of choice was because of a pastor and friend who had recently started a church was there and had mentioned that, at some point, there might be a job for me.

So, my wife and I started working odd jobs and just scraping by. After about a year I spoke with the pastor and discussed my desire to return to full time campus ministry (that is what I had been doing in the south for the 3 years prior to the move). We agreed that it was good timing and started to work towards me coming on staff. The one catch is that, as a campus minister, I had to go out and raise a financial partnership team. Some of you know what I’m talking about… for those who don’t, basically I went to lots of people and explained my passion to see college students impacted with the gospel. I then asked if they wanted to partner with me financially. And, lo and behold, some did.

Now, the problem was that I was REALLY bad at the whole process. While I managed by God’s grace to get enough money to live, it was always tight and difficult… then we added our son Little Man… then a house… then Sweet Pea… then a mini van… over the years our expenses increased, yet income didn’t quite keep up. I was forced to work second jobs and long hours. It was always stressful… We were getting by, but we weren’t sure how long we could keep it up.

Finally, last summer we spent some serious time asking God what we needed to do. I could not see spending another year working 60-70 hours a week to just scrape by… not knowing if it would be a “good” month or a “bad” month. We felt like the grace might be up for this season of life. So, we asked God, “if not this… then what?”

Seminary.

It seemed like an odd answer. We can’t pay the bills now, how will we pay them there? How could this work?

Well, we prayed, talked to friends and family, and thought about it a lot. After about three months of consideration… I quit my job. Now, that sounds harsh, and it really wasn’t. My pastor was very supportive and agreed that this seems like the right thing at the right time.

So, here we are… six months later… We’ve sold our house, moved 800 miles from home, and I’ll be starting my first semester as a residential student in February. It has been and will continue to be a wild adventure… but with God we trust that He who called us will sustain us through it all and, in the end, we’ll be shaped and formed more into the image of his son… or be crushed and die… but we’re hoping for the first one…

Category: Calling, Stories

About the Author

Mark Warnock is the founder and General Editor of Seminary Survival Guide.com. He serves as Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church of Columbia, Illinois, and is a Ph.D student in Christian Philosophy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is working with Ed Eubanks on a book on how to survive seminary.

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