A couple of weeks ago I posted a list of my favorite classes at Southern Seminary, any of which I’d highly recommend. Here are six general recommendations for anyone attending or considering seminary. Nobody has asked me for advice, but it’s my blog, so I’m giving it anyway.
- Get involved in a local church. Seminary is not a hiatus from the responsibility to make disciples and live out the “one another”s of the New Testament, both of which happen in and through the local church. So get your hands dirty and get involved: wash dishes, serve in the nursery, visit the elderly, pick people up for church. Whatever you do, remember that what’s gained in the classroom is for the church. I’d also recommend you find a church quickly. If you’re married and your wife is not a student, chances are she’ll be starving for friendship and fellowship while you meet people in class.
- Read the Bible. Regardless of what you learn in the classroom or what books you read outside of it, there’s only one Word of God. Read it, memorize it, pray it, obey it, and love it. It will sustain you when nothing else can.
- Learn the languages. You can grow in your theological understanding as you go. You can grow in your ability to preach, counsel, etc. after you finish seminary. The chances are slim, however, that you will improve your language ability after you graduate, so make the most of the opportunity.
- Study hard. This should be obvious, but your primary task in seminary is to prepare for ministry. You might never get the chance to devote yourself to study rigorously the things of God like you do in seminary.
- Prioritize your marriage (if you’re married). The last thing you want is to leave seminary with a solid theological foundation and a shaky marriage to show for it. Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 both list healthy home life as a qualification for eldership, so love your wife and sustain your ministry at home.
- Exercise. You’ll be spending a good bit of time straining your mind while you sit on your tail, so be sure to get off your tail and burn some calories. It will often seem like a poor use of time, but it’s not. I was a better student when I exercised regularly.