In Part One, I explained what I did not learn during seminary. Seminary for me was Southwestern Theological Seminary from 2002-2006, and it was well worth my time and money to attend. It may not have taught me everything I needed, and with culture always changing, how could it. But it did prepare me in so many ways.
Four Reasons You Should Go to Seminary:
I learned a lot about relationships and dealing with people, especially difficult people.
Am I good at it? No. I am always working on this one and will be working on it forever. But one class I recall so favorably used the best book, “The Peace Maker”. The class was one of the most useful classes teaching about the challenging relations in the ministry and being church administrators. If you don’t attend seminary, I would highly encourage you to read books and blog posts to help you learn how to deal with difficult people and how to cultivate healthy relationships in the ministry.
Theology and doctrine were BIG things I learned in seminary.
I was raised going to church. I knew the importance of a daily quiet time, but I never really understood the Bible or why I believed what I said I believed. And my beliefs were really challenged through Systematic Theology. It was the toughest class ever and the most useful. I had also read through the Bible a couple of times, but never knew the history of the Bible or how to study it exegetically. We need to know what the truth in scripture is so that we can teach truth, not just what some preacher said or an author of a book wrote. We need to know the truth of Scripture. This will be a never ending pursuit for me as every time I read through the Bible, I learn and glean something new.
How to teach and preach.
Seminary was very good at teaching us to prepare to teach and preach. Most of my professors were also pastors or had been pastors. Therefore, they were excellent teachers and prepared me well. They gave me a love for teaching and preparing to teach. I don’t get the privilege often, but love it when I do. I do believe this is also a gift God gives, and can be learned outside of seminary, but for me, I learned so much more about effective preparing and teaching during seminary. I also learned about more fabulous preachers than I ever knew before. Seminary will enlighten you to a whole new world of writers, preachers, podcasts, and more.
Church administration can be difficult.
It can burn out the best minister. One class required us to create a new church, budget, staff, name, every single detail of the church including the first service and sermon the church would have. It was the best assignment I ever had. I created Barefoot Baptist Church, just come as you are. It took more work than any other assignment, but was well worth it. Every minister should be able to create a budget, create job descriptions, see how to evaluate programming, and so much more. Seminary can prepare you. But here too, as the culture and the church evolves, we must be continual learners in this area. I love to follow relevantchildrensministry.com and gospelcoalition.org to gain more knowledge on church administration.
I am thankful for my years in ministry and for my time during seminary. But I don’t think it ends there. Spend time reading blog posts to help continue your education. I follow a Facebook group for extra ideas and to challenge me and more. We can learn so much from others in the ministry. I also have a few great friends in the ministry and we stay in touch to encourage each other, mentor, and pray during the hard times. There will be hard times. But you can survive! Just be prepared for what may come your way. And always, love the ministry.
The verse I always cling to: “Who can consider what God has done: When things are good be happy. But when things are bad, remember God has made the one as well as the other; and no man can determine his future.” Ecclesiastes 7:13-14
Beth Howe has been married to Jonathan Howe since January 2003 and they have 3 boys, Ethan, Parker, Micah, and one daughter, Avery. They enjoy swimming, bowling, soccer, and just being together watching movies and playing games.
She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at The University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s in Christian education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her experience in ministry ranges from serving as a children’s ministry intern to a mother’s day out director to a grade school minister till she joined the FBCMJ staff in October of 2013 as the Director of Children’s Ministries.
She is most passionate about seeing children come to salvation and grow in their knowledge of God’s Word as well as working alongside parents to instill a love for Christ, the church, and the world.