Thoughts on Seminary from a Graduating Seminarian

Today marks the last day of class for me in my seminary career. I will graduate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on Friday with a Master of Divinity. As I reflect on my time in seminary, I want to share a few thoughts on what I learned from my experience:

1. Seminary requires you to be a good researcher and writer

In order to learn the trade well, it would be wise to spend time reading books on writing and research, knowing the better researcher and writer you become, the better speaker you will be. In addition, the better writer you become, the better reader you will be, helping you to better process the overwhelming material you will read during your time in seminary.

2. Seminary provides you with tools, it does not teach you everything you need to know

Receiving your diploma does not mean your studying is over. You could argue seminary is just the beginning of your theological education, giving you the ability to pursue further self-study.  In order to serve a church well, those graduating from seminary need to continue to study, research, and write, faithfully exercising the skills developed during their time in seminary.

3. Make an effort to develop good friendships 

Not only are you making friends for life, who will be a rock for you to lean on during your days in ministry, but you will learn more outside of the classroom in conversations with friends than during lectures. Since this is true, you should take as many classes as you can with your friends, and discuss the lectures and readings as often as possible. I have learned more, and been challenged more, during conversations with friends at Starbucks and over lunch than I would have if I solely relied on my personal study of class lectures.

4. Develop friendships with your professors

I have spent time getting to know several professors throughout my seminary career. These men have given me solid biblical advice, as well as challenged me in my spiritual life. It is worth it to put forth the effort to get to know a few professors on a deeper level.

5. Find a solid local church and pour into it

Don’t coast through your seminary career thinking you will minister when you take on your first church. Find a church now, plug in, spend as much time with the leadership there as you can, and minister to as many people as you can, even if it is not from the pulpit. In addition, you should give the church you attend during seminary the same opportunity to examine your calling to the ministry as you did your home church.

6. Buy as many books as you can

In order to find books at a reasonable price, spend time finding the discount book sellers in your area. A high concentration of seminary students equals a greater potential for a gold mine of cheap theology books to develop in your local used book stores. Visit these stores often; especially, at the end of a semester when other students may be unloading their unwanted books. What one student does not want, may be a gem to another.

7. Attend Conferences

Most conferences will allow you to attend at a cheaper rate while you are in seminary. Take the opportunity while you have it, knowing that traveling with friends and networking with other pastors from around the country is priceless. Not to mention, most conferences give away books like they are candy. It is not uncommon to walk away with 20-30 free books written by your favorite authors and speakers.

8. Set aside time for your wife

Seminary can easily dominate all your free time, so it is important you set aside time to spend with your wife, remembering she is your first ministry.

9. Make time for your personal relationship with the Lord

Even a theological education is no substitute for one’s devotional life. Setting aside time to do your daily devotion is crucial to your growth in the Christian life.

10. Plan out your semester

Nothing is more stressful than having to write three papers and study for two tests in the same week. In order to avoid that type of stress, setup a schedule and plan at the beginning of each semester  and stick to it. If you planned well, and started your projects early enough, you should have no problem turning in your best work with minimal stress.

11. Have fun

Seminary is a time for serious study and preparation for ministry, but it is also a time to enjoy life. Don’t always act so serious, and take the opportunity to get involved in intramural sports, as well as seek out a hobby other than reading. Always make sure to set aside time during the week to relax with friends and family.

Political Christian: Is this a Contradiction?

Should Christians be involved in Public Policy? Many pastors and Christians in evangelical circles will answer this question with a resounding, NO! Some even go so far as to say that government is evil, and government affiliation should be avoided at all cost.

What these Christians forget is that government is not a worldly invention. Paul writes in Romans 13:1, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” Here we learn that government is not a human invention; it is not the realm of the Devil, it is a Divine institution, established by God.

I will admit, government can be a source of evil, if evil people run it. But it can also be a source of much good in our society, if good people get involved. As Christians, we must be that good voice in government. Good public policy acts to restrain evil, while bad policy encourages immoral behavior. It is no mystery that laws influence the decisions people make. For example, New York did not pass a no fault divorce law, when other states did. As a result, the divorce rate in New York is lower than the rest of the country. (Article & iMAPP Study)

I believe Christians have the ability to influence legislation for good, if they will get involved, thus, influencing the moral climate of our Nation.

Two More Reasons To Be Involved

Other than the fact that Christians are called to be salt and light in the world (Matt. 5:13), I will leave you with two more reasons we need to be engaged in political service:

(1) To protect the churches freedom to proclaim the Gospel. There are many in our culture who want to tear down the institution of the church, and if we as Christians do not get involved, they may succeed.

(2) For the good of everyone. There are a lot of people who fall prey to bad public policy. A good example is the unborn. Many lives are lost everyday because abortion was legalized in our country.


If Christians continue to see government as evil and remain apathetic to Political service, then public policies will continue to cater to those who want nothing to do with Judeo-Christian values. So to answer my original question, should Christians be involved in Public Policy, I give a resounding YES!

Resources and How To Get Involved

Some ideas from this post were taken from a talk Dr. Barrett Duke gave at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Dr. Duke is the Vice President of the Southern Baptists Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission.  More about the ERLC and how Christians can get involved in public policy can be found on their website: