In seminary, I was a grade-nerd. It started early in my academic career. I was in the gifted program from 3rd grade through high school. Once I discovered that I had academic gifts, I found I liked achieving well in that arena. And my parents never settled for less than I could do. In high school, when I brought home six As and one B on the report card, my parents’ terse response was “Bring it up.”
So I was a grade nerd. In seminary, I approached it the same way. Had to make As. HAD to. Some of you out there are just like me.
Time for a reality check: No one cares what your grades are in seminary.
Unless you want to do doctoral work (meaning a Ph.D), your grades should not be something you are concerned about. I was always concerned about grades, so I worked hard and did well in seminary. Very well. I graduated with a 4.018 on a 4.0 scale.
Do you know how many people have asked me what my grades were in seminary? Not one. A big, fat zero.
Churches don’t care. When you interview for a ministry position, your 4.0 M.Div sadly will be worth the same to them as your buddy’s 2.0 M.Div.
Your peers don’t care. Your denomination doesn’t care. And, to top it off, your seminary does not care.
This was the worst insult to my grade-nerdness. For my stellar academic achievement, my seminary gave me exactly nothing. No pat on the back. No form letter from the dean of the school of theology, no sticker on my diploma, no gold sash to wear at graduation. N – O – T – H – I – N – G.
But I’m not bitter.
So to all you grade-nerds out there: loosen your collar and relax. You are not a grade on a page.
Next: the other side of grades
About the AuthorMark 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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