My name is Mark Warnock, and I’m the general editor for Seminary Survival Guide. I’m a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div, 1995) and have served as an associate pastor for two decades.

I got the idea for this lying in bed praying one morning. Our church has several seminary students, and seeing them take the first steps in following their call to ministry reminded me of when I was doing the same thing. I especially remembered how much I thought I knew…. and how little I actually knew about what was really important.


Now that I’ve been in ministry for a while, I have two things in my favor. First, I know a bit about the real life of ministry, having lived it for over ten years. I’ve seen colleagues burn out and drop out of ministry. Second, I’ve gotten to know some really godly and mature people who have more wisdom than I have, and I’ve gotten them to share theirs with me.

So while I’m the general editor, I won’t be the only contributor. If you have an idea or request to share with me, drop me a note at mark -at- seminarysurvivalguide (dot) com.

A few things about this blog:

  • We will write, without apology, from a generally Protestant, evangelical point of view. Others are very welcome to participate in our community—I think much of what we write will help people preparing to minister in all kinds of faith communities—but we won’t try to pacify everyone about our differences. We are who we are.
  • Your participation can only help. Don’t just lurk, leave comments! You have to put in your name and email to comment. Don’t be scared of this. We won’t abuse the information. I just know that anonymity sometimes protects stupidity. If you want to be stupid here, we’re simply requiring that you be public about it. 🙂 I will certainly be public about MY stupidity.
  • You need not agree with everything we post. I love to float radical ideas from time to time. This is not with the expectation that everyone will run out and immediately do what I suggest, but in hopes it will stimulate your thinking. Some of the things we post I hope will be incredibly helpful. Others you’ll think are stupid. Which is fine with me.
  • Finally, this blog is not my full-time job. It is a secondary ministry vehicle for me. I hope to be diligent and posting and maintaining it, but if I’m a little slow to respond to comments or email, please remember that my first responsibility is to my church.


Here are some essential posts, to get you started:

Things You Need to Learn That Seminary Won’t Teach You

Attending Seminary Means Living in a Foreign Land

Knowledge is Not Life

Eliminate Time Wasters

You Must Learn Triage

Master Your Required Reading in Half the Time


  1. WOW!!! I think this is the first time I have ever seen any admission of potential imperfection. Yet, there it is in black and white! You agree to be public about your stupidity. You’ve come so far, Mark. 🙂 I love you brother and appreciate your genuineness. I’m looking forward to the collaborative efforts of this site.

  2. Mark,
    I was on faculty at SWBTS while you were there and became Dean of the School of Educational Ministries the following year. I’m now president of a fully-online purpose driven seminary, called Rockbridge. We started our seminary because we saw 50% of students who entered seminary would never graduate and then only 50% of those who graduate are serving in churches 5 years after graduation. Our curriculum is practical and designed to help staff members get training without leaving their ministry field. I’m interested in what tips, advice will be share in your website.

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