May 20, 2011

10 Things I Learned In Seminary-Part 3

Here are the last few lessons I picked up in the course of my studies for my Master's Degree, & yet again, none of them are academic lessons.

4) How To Synthesize Thoughts & Communicate Them Clearly
Trust me, this is a big deal for guys like me who are preachers. We tend to want to include every detail or bit of info that we pick up in our research. However, you can't do that when you've been given the assignment of reading a 400 page book & summarizing both the content of the book & our critical thoughts of it in 3 pages! You have to learn to communicate only the essential.

3) You Have To Know "Why" Your Seminary/School Is Training Students
Before you enroll in any school & pay those nice tuition bills, you better know what that school is producing. What's the reputation of the school you're considering? Does the "product" their producing match up with your goals post-graduation? Make sure that your vision matches the training you'll be receiving. Many seminaries are supposedly training pastors & leaders, but there is little evidence to back it up. Instead, they are producing very smart pastors who don't know how to lead anything. Do your homework!

2) Online Or Extension Work Is An Amazing Advancement, But It's Not For Everyone.
I managed to complete an entire Master's Degree without ever setting foot on Liberty's campus or inside a classroom. However, I dont' think everyone could do that. In fact, I don't think I could have done it 10 years ago. I just didn't have enough self-discipline or motivation. However, if you've got the maturity & drive to take advantage of these programs, do it, but again, make sure the school your looking at has been doing this long enough to offer a quality online or extension experience.

1) Waiting To Pursue A Seminary Degree Was One Of The Best Things I've Ever Done.
When I was in college I was constantly told that I had to tackle my Master's work immediately after graduation. However, the most common argument I ever heard was that if I didn't do it then, I would never do it. To be honest, that wasn't the most compelling argument. The other argument that was more implied than actually stated was that only seminary grads are ready for ministry. Frankly, Scripture doesn't back that up, & experience hasn't really taught me that either. I waited until I wanted to pursue the degree & until God began to nudge me toward that degree, & it took about 10 years for that to happen. However, in that decade I learned things that no classroom could ever teach, & I learned lessons that actually prepared me for seminary rather than the other way around.

Thanks for reading my thoughts. Hopefully someone reading this is contemplating either seminary or furthering their education in general & these insights will get you thinking about things that maybe you haven't thought about before.

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