Is Seminary Worth It? : Part 1

During my time at Trinity I worked in the office of Admissions as a counselor for graduate studies.  Quite often we found ourselves discussing the central question at hand, “Is theological education really worth the cost?”

Let me see if I can unpack the sub-questions implied in this meta-question:

  • Is the traditional, on-site model really worth the cost of moving, living, learning, and decrease in overall income?
  • Is it worth it to waste three-to-four years of one’s life in seminary?  Do you really learn enough to become more helpful in ministry?
  • Can’t you learn the requisite material in an undergraduate Bible degree and thereby make better use of your early ministry years?
  • Do I really have to transplant my life and ministry (and family) when there are readily available on-line options?
  • Is seminary really worth it for the local church — especially in a down economy?

When making a pitch for seminary, we had to be prepared to answer each of these questions.

The aforementioned questions provide an interesting framework for the topic of theological education. This question has become a hot topic in the last decade with folks from the Reformed Evangelical crowd (here & here too),  The Assemblies of God crowd, and even the director of the Association of Theological Schools weighing in.  Having recently completed my second post-graduate theological degree in December I have an increased appreciation for and perspective on the investment of theological education. Accordingly, I will spend the next few posts on the subject of theological education.

By way of introduction, let me begin with my transition to PhD work at Trinity from my MDiv work at Truett Seminary.  Below is a video that my friend Jeremy and I made to celebrate our acceptance into Trinity (Jeremy was accepted into the MDiv program and graduated in 2010).  The video was a nod to those high school athletes signing day videos in which the students select between multiple offers through a lavish and dramatic selection process.  Jeremy and I were not good enough to have an athletic signing day.  But we were so excited about seminary that we created our own seminary signing day.

Bottom Line: I am excited about theological education in the form of an on-site seminary experience.  I believe it to be the best possible means of preparation for a long-tenured ministry path.  In the following posts, I will attempt to wade through some of the various objections and hurdles that folks face in the process of discerning whether to attend or not to attend.

About Doug Hankins

Although not a Christian in his youth, Doug came to believe in Jesus during his teenage years. When not playing sports or pastoring Doug is probably spending time with his wife, reading a good book, or drinking some hot tea. Doug's first book Dawson Trotman: In His Own Words is available wherever books are sold. You can follow Doug on twitter.
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3 Responses to Is Seminary Worth It? : Part 1

  1. Julie says:

    Imelda & Tee were marired in September at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco. They had a sweet afternoon wedding ceremony, followed by a buffet of homemade goods at their wedding reception at Stonebriar Community Church. Imelda & Tee chose to do a first look at the church to see each other before the wedding. It was so sweet to see the way Tee hugged Imelda during their first look?very touching and emotional moment. Their ceremony was beautiful and full of great hymns and a wonderful message from their pastor. After their ribbon waving exit, I photographed more bride and groom portraits of Imelda & Tee at a nearby park in Frisco. {Special shout out to Amy Karp for second shooting this wedding with me she’s the bomb!} Posted in Wedding Related Posts

    • laskar says:

      Well, here’s my two cents worth. I believe that the Bible is the nirpised Word of God and contains the information God wants us to know about Him, as well as His instructions on how He wants us to live our lives so as to be pleasing in His sight. Without the Bible, how would we know about God, so we can love Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength? And, without the Bible, how would we know about His plan for our salvation, that He so loved the world that He sent His only beloved Son to suffer and die in our place, so that by believing in this truth, we can share eternal happiness with Him forever in Heaven?When people were leaving Jesus because they found His teaching on eating His Body & Blood too much for them, He asked Peter if he too would leave, and Peter replied: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. I can relate to Peter when I consider the Bible it alone contains the words of eternal life, and that anchors my life with peace and hope.Thanks Sean, for the opportunity to share.Tom O’Brien

  2. Pingback: Is Seminary Worth It Part 4: The Marks Of A Healthy Seminary » Doug Hankins : Into The World

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