How To Succeed in Seminary

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Bert Perry's picture

Notice how the central issues of theology--which sex should be in seminary, what ought be studied, what is the goal--are sidelined here, at least in my probably not humble enough opinion.  It strikes me as well that if someone just wants Latin words after their name, or to emerge with family intact, he can do no better than to drop out.  Spare the church another hireling, please.  And yet the author's writing tells us that in "fundagelicalism", there are numerous "cemetery" students who have exactly this goal.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

I admire the man:

  • Service in the A/F 
  • Plugged away and got his bachelors at 31
  • And seminary at age of 50

My comments about seminary:

  • Absolutely the best years of my life
    • Graduated from University of Cincinnati in 1971
    • 1 year with Campus Crusade for Christ (U of Buffalo campus minister)
    • 3 years as a salesman with IBM
    • 2 years as a salesman with Digital Equipment Company
    • Started seminary at the age of 28
    • Finished at 31. 
    • First church at 31
  • I found seminary to be very challenging but still managed to do well. Loved the reading. Don't think I could do that now with my eyes as weak as they are. Papers? Typed them out on an little electric typewriter. Oh how a word processor would have helped.
  • Grades: the author is correct - no church asks
  • Advice:
    • Seminary doesn't make one a pastor
    • A man becomes a pastor when a church calls him
    • Seminary does not guarantee a job. Best to have a way to make a living if God does not open up a paid ministry opportunity. 
    • Some are bitter because that door does not open ... but the Lord is the director over these things
Ron Bean's picture

Jim is my brother from another mother. I was saved at 28, finished my undergrad at the University of Maine (BS in Education), taught in a Christian school for 3 years, seminary for 3 years, and took a full-time position at a small rural church for $120 a week and a worn-out parsonage. 

After 20 years in ministry I discovered that there weren't a whole lot of fundamental churches that were looking for full-time pastors. I'm now on a pastoral staff in a young and growing church and supporting myself with a secular job and have never been happier.

I believe that there aren't a whole lot of fundamental churches that are looking  for a full-time pastor. There are a lot that need a pastor who can support himself with an outside job. (Note to seminary grads: get a trade and be willing to make tents.) I fear the reality is that there aren't a whole lot of opportunities out there for seminary grads unless they have connections. By connections, I mean something like going back to their home church and maybe replacing their father when he retires. : )

BTW, my current church was a church plant out of Heritage Bible Church in Greenville, SC. We've been financially independent for a couple of years.


"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jim's picture

19 years in his church. He is now 67. Church has financial problems and in January they cut his salary in half. They still support their missionaries. How is a guy 67 supposed to make up the half salary that is taken away from him? 


T Howard's picture

Jim wrote:

How is a guy 67 supposed to make up the half salary that is taken away from him? 

Two options... Start drawing from his 403b or start collecting his social security. If this is a fundamental baptist pastor who either 1) didn't set up a 403b or 2) opted out of SS then he's out of luck. He can always be a Walmart greeter though.  Quite honestly, the church will need to allow him to look for employment elsewhere.