May 17, 2011

10 Things I Learned In Seminary-Part 2

Picking up today where I Ieft off in talking about the real lessons learned from my seminary "education".

7) Don't Go To Seminary "Because" Or For The "MDiv."
This goes to motive. Yes, it's true, for better or worse, that the typical church system is on where a seminary degree will open the door to more opportunities, but is that really the best reason for pursuing a Master's Degree or a PHD? If you're going to pursue that kind of training, do it for the training, not the piece of paper at the end, & that leads me to the other point. Don't just go get an MDiv because that's what you think you have to have. Over my 10+ years in ministry I've learned that most of the problems that we face as pastors & as churches are not due to the fact that our leaders need more doctrine, biblical, linguistic, or church history education. The problems that plague so many churches are due to the fact that the leaders aren't really leaders. When choosing a degree, choose a degree that will equip you in an area you know you need. That means you'll have to actually research schools & the different degree programs instead of just being a lemming who jumps off the same cliff as everyone else. If you need the MDiv, great go for it, but make sure that's really where you need to be trained.

6) Never Read A Book Without A Highlighter
This doesn't just apply to seminary, but that's where the lesson really became concrete for me. Because I was consuming so much information every week, necessity dictated that I have a huge stockpile of highlighters. However, I've transferred that principle over to all my reading. After all, how in the world am I going to track down that great idea or quote from a particular book if I haven't highlighted it, underlined it, or in some way pulled it out of the sea of letters & words surrounding it?

5) How To Process Lots Of Material Quickly
The way my program was designed, I had assignments due at the end of every week that included discussion boards, papers, & quizzes or tests. In order to do those assignments there was LOTS of reading. Some weeks I had around 300 pages of reading to do. That meant I learned really quickly to find & process the important material. By the end of seminary, most of the time I was only reading headings & the first lines of paragraphs. If the first line was something that resonated, I would continue. If it was just more supporting material for another idea, I moved on. This may be one of the most practical lessons because life requires us to take in, process, & act on lots of information at a faster & faster pace every year.

Check back tomorrow to read more lessons learned.

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