Why would a pastor leave a thriving church and return to seminary? Why would he step out of the pulpit and back into the classroom? These are good questions that I’ve asked myself, and have been asked. And ultimately, I think the next logical question is,
What do you expect to gain from Seminary that would make it all worthwhile?
I expect to grow closer to Christ
- One of the things that stood out to me as we visited the campus was the hope that each student at Southwestern would not only grow in knowledge, but would find themselves closer to Christ at the end of their time here. Probing the depths of God’s goodness – striving to understand the vastness of all that He is – should drive me to intimacy. In fact, during our initial tour of the campus, we were told, “If at the end of your studies, you don’t find yourself closer to Christ,
It is a failure on the part of Southwestern and on yourself.”
I expect to grow closer to my family
- As I’ve said before, one of the things we loved most about Southwestern was it’s value of the family. I know that even my professors expect me to fulfill my roles at home as husband and daddy. My studies are important, but if I pull A’s in class while pulling F’s at home, I’ve failed.
I expect to be challenged
- Despite the fact that I am a self-educator – I’ve always been one to spend significant time and energy studying a subject that I realize my insufficiency in – I’m well aware of the limitations of my own ability to even know my limitations! By submitting to the seminary process and following the time-tested process of preparation for ministry, I’m more likely to be well-rounded in my abilities and thinking. This will stretch me and force me to study some areas that aren’t necessarily in my wheelhouse, but ultimately, I’ll be better prepared as a result.
I expect to be taught
- Can I admit something? I don’t know everything. I may come across that way at times. Honestly, I may allow myself to think that at times. But I don’t. I have no desire to be the argumentative know-it-all that I’ve been in the past. I want to be teachable, because frankly, I need to know more. The call to pastoral ministry is a monumental task that charges me with the care of souls. I can’t imagine not doing everything I can in an effort to ensure both faithfulness and fruitfulness in ministry.
While there are other things that I look forward to and expect (including building relationships with professors and other students), I hope these four main expectations shed some light on what I hope to gain from my time here on “The Hill.”