Seminary does not prepare you for ministry

Ok, time for an ugly reality check. Seminary does not prepare you for ministry.

Or, at least, it does not prepare you in all the important ways you need to be prepared. How many times have you heard pastors remark about some issue they’re facing, “They didn’t teach us that in seminary?” You’ll be saying it yourself soon.

Preparation for ministry is YOUR responsibility, not your seminary’s. When you get into the real world of ministry and find yourself unprepared, don’t blame the seminary. And don’t blame us, either, because we’re warning you now.

For example, a seminary degree does not guarantee:

  • That you have a genuine, divine calling to ministry. There are many working in churches without the call. I’ll say more about that in a later post.
  • That you love people. There are many people who get into ministry, strangely enough, excited about God and his word, but not so much about people.
  • That you are living holy. Degrees won’t help you repent or be humble. I remember my seminary roommate, who was in the counseling program, talk about how many sexual addiction groups there were at the seminary’s counseling center, full of seminary students. And that’s just of the ones who reached out for help!
  • That you can lead. A degree won’t help you learn to lead. You’ll have to learn that somewhere else, mostly by doing it and seeing it done.

Does seminary have value? Absolutely. But don’t make the mistake of thinking it will do everything for you.

What could we add to this list?

One Reply to “Seminary does not prepare you for ministry”

  1. Mark: This is greatly needed among seminary students. I am mentoring one now who is attending Rockbridge Seminary (based in Springfield, Mo but is an online purpose-driven seminary-President Daryl Eldridge). I mentored over 30 students in Southern Seminary (when I served as Min. of Discipleship in Louisville) in relationship and leadership skills (which they did not get at seminary as you reminded us here). Keep up the good work!

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