Worth reading

Matt’s friend Devin, who we link to on this blog, has an excellent post that is quite lengthy but full of great thoughts on ministry, church planting, and theological education. Read it here.

(Devin is on the far left…the picture is taken at a Grace Point Baptism ceremony)

Here is one part I found especially interesting.

It is common among young church planters today to shun seminary. I understand this temptation had have chuckled along with others as some mega-church pastors took shots at “cemetery” trained pastors. I agree that it usually takes a few years to get the seminary out of guys before they are really ready to make an impact. Yet I am not sure it is a wise move to completely write off seminary as unnecessary. I think we live in a culture where theological preparation and knowledge is a must. A young church planter needs to be grounded in the gospel. You have to deal with a hodgepodge of spiritual thought today and it is vital for a church planter to know what they believe and why they believe it. The “I just believe the Bible” paradigm of yesteryear will not cut it in our culture of religious mayhem.

 

But I am bias since I am going to seminary right now, and have often wondered if seminary was an experience that was becoming out-dated. As I am getting closer to the end of my time I would answer with a resounding no, and argue that the time spent in seminary pays dividends that can not otherwise be had. Yet I would agree completely with Devin, that it is not a must for all to pastor. But those who can thrive in ministry without seminary, are more often the exception than the rule.

ryan

ADDENDUM BY MATT

Neither Ryan or I have ever invaded each others posts to respond. Normally I would write this in a separate post, but I didn’t want my response to leapfrog Ryan’s.

For some reason I have managed to be one of the guys Devin emails when he has an article of interest. Most of the time he sends out a heads up when he has a article up on Monday Morning Insight. He sent one out for the article Ryan links to. Below is my response that I emailed Devin:

I would think that he was speaking to guys like me, not guys like you. Guys like me, who chose to plant with their own vision and purpose becuase they were too prideful to come under another seasoned man’s vision. Guys like me, who chose to plant becuase they were to prideful to realize they were too young to gain the respect that comes from caring for the church the way you did in seminary. Guys like me, who think they are the next Mark Driscoll and don’t give credence to the value of seminary, even though we really need it. Guys like me, who haven’t learned how to love and care for the flock, and yet think they could do it better than the next guy. Almost all of these come from carrying for the church that exists, and that through that God might prepare me to reach thousands of lost people. Lost people turn into church people, and they need the gospel daily just as the lost do. I think I sorely neglected this due to the hubris of young zeal.

I add this only to show the multiple sides to this issue. I strongly believe in Devin’s wisdom, and feel ever pressing conviction in Dr. Mohler’s words, at least at this point in my life.

matt

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4 Responses

  1. that was insightful brothers. I’m praying about seminary, any suggestions? How do know what seminary you should go to?

  2. Tom good questions. My process was difficult because I really did not know anyone who had gone. I set out to do some research but that only tells you so much. Here might be a few suggestions.

    1. If you want to do a degree in worship, or Biblical studies, or theology, find a seminary that is known for that and has professors that are well established in that area. Often seminary is a little bit like good universities; their top notch professors become what the school is known for and really specializes on.

    2. Find people who you admire, pastors, theologians, authors and find out where they went to seminary. This might give you a good indication of what does on there. And if you want to be real bold just email some of those people and ask them their thoughts.

    3. Find a way to talk to some students if you are seriously considering a school. Talk to them about the theological vibe of the school and the type of students at the campus. I think this is important because I have a buddy at Denver Seminary who just went online googled seminary and found Iliff seminary in denver and enrolled. Then when he got there he found out that the New Testament prof was a Buddhist and the place was very liberal. Basically he should have done a little bit more leg work.

    Hope all this helps, it can be a big decision.

  3. that does help, thanks ryan

  4. tom,

    I am visiting both Denver and Western Seminaries this month if you would like to chat up the two when I am done.

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