Seminary and Ministry Preperation

Status
Not open for further replies.

Minh

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello,

I have start a thread on the same topic before.

With the intention of studying in the seminary and entering the ministry, I wish to receive some sound advices from anyone who is a pastor, seminary student or is well-experienced on this subject.

1) I am currently a college student studying engineering for my undergraduate years. How would you, as undergraduate students, plan to pay expense for seminary education (not to mention other expenses such as helping family, college tuition, etc..)?

2) With regard to marriage, suppose that I have a fiancée now (which I don't), I intend to get married after my seminary education to secure a stable income for future family relationship. What would be the best moment for a seminary student to get married? Pre-seminary or post-seminary?

3) Finally, assuming that we both know the great eloquent ministers Whitefield, Spurgeon and others, do you place an emphasis on oratory in preaching?
 

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
1. Student loans were one of my chief sources of income, besides assistance from the church and family.

2. Wrong question. If you're in a relationship, and you realize she's the one, you shouldn't be dating any longer than two years. Longer than that and you're asking for trouble. It's better to marry than to burn, even if you're a seminary student. I got married when I was in university. I wasn't going to wait 8 years (4 years for my undergrad, 4 years for my M.Div.).

3. The question is unclear. What do you mean by "oratory"?
 

Minh

Puritan Board Freshman
3. The question is unclear. What do you mean by "oratory"?

To clarify for the whole thread, should preachers have eloquent voices like Spurgeon or Whitefield for better communication?

Just to ask as a fellow Canadian, do you recommend me to attend any of Canadian seminary?
 
Last edited:

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
If you're in a relationship, and you realize she's the one, you shouldn't be dating any longer than two years. Longer than that and you're asking for trouble.
TWO YEARS!!!! I would suggest a lot less than that. Especially if they were in close proximity. I would also encourage a lot of accountability and study to help discern the will of the Lord during that time.
 

Timotheos

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello,

I have start a thread on the same topic before.

With the intention of studying in the seminary and entering the ministry, I wish to receive some sound advices from anyone who is a pastor, seminary student or is well-experienced on this subject.

1) I am currently a college student studying engineering for my undergraduate years. How would you, as undergraduate students, plan to pay expense for seminary education (not to mention other expenses such as helping family, college tuition, etc..)?

2) With regard to marriage, suppose that I have a fiancée now (which I don't), I intend to get married after my seminary education to secure a stable income for future family relationship. What would be the best moment for a seminary student to get married? Pre-seminary or post-seminary?

3) Finally, assuming that we both know the great eloquent ministers Whitefield, Spurgeon and others, do you place an emphasis on oratory in preaching?
Do you have a denomination or type of church in your sites? That is one factor. In other words,, you adhere to the 2LBC it appears. Do you want a RB church? If so, that might help govern your decision. Are you willing to relocate? Is distance ed an option? Are you planning on using your undergrad education to find a job "in the mean time"? Is accreditation necessary or even important to you?

Lot's of questions before specific advice can be given.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
1. What type of engineering are you doing? It's possible that you could work for a bit or even do some part-time consulting to help pay the bills while you go to seminary. I work with some folks in technology who are working full time and going to seminary part time (the local Reformed seminary, RTS Atlanta, works well with this schedule).

2. I tried to plan when I would marry my wife, but for various reasons we did not find it best to wait and we got married while in college. I would not try to plan this too much, as you do not know the Lord has for you here.

3. I think good oration skills are an important aspect of being a pastor and something that is sometimes ignored. You have a lot of opportunities while in college to practice your speaking skills, I imagine. I did debate and college which was very helpful to me in understanding how to formulate an argument and how to speak well and I imagine it could be invaluable to a future minister. Drama, Mock Trial, and other opportunities could help develop this as well.

I would also recommend using this time to make sure you're sure of your theological positions. It seems like you're at odds which your church's doctrine on at least church government (I'm assuming that's why you noted the LBCF instead of your church's version of the WCF in your signature) so it's good to figure that out before you go to seminary, and ideally be under care of a church that you can also serve in.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
1) I am currently a college student studying engineering for my undergraduate years. How would you, as undergraduate students, plan to pay expense for seminary education (not to mention other expenses such as helping family, college tuition, etc..)?

Graduate. Get a job as an engineer. Work in engineering for twenty years or so while saving for tuition and a career in ministry that pays less and less all the time.

2) With regard to marriage, suppose that I have a fiancée now (which I don't), I intend to get married after my seminary education to secure a stable income for future family relationship. What would be the best moment for a seminary student to get married? Pre-seminary or post-seminary?

Going to seminary does not secure a stable income, especially for a Reformed Baptist.
 

Minh

Puritan Board Freshman
Work in engineering for twenty years or so while saving for tuition and a career in ministry that pays less and less all the time.
Is it common for people to enter seminary at young age (at least from 24)?
 

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
To clarify for the whole thread, should preachers have eloquent voices like Spurgeon or Whitefield for better communication?

Just to ask as a fellow Canadian, do you recommend me to attend any of Canadian seminary?

1. At the bare minimum, you probably shouldn't have an annoying voice. There are some things that can be improved in terms of public speaking (Toastmasters can be really helpful for that), but if your voice is naturally squeaky or soft (in volume), then a vocation which heavily relies on your voice is probably not your calling. There needs to be some natural "equipment" to build on.

2. The Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Ontario is worth checking out. It does require students to be in agreement with the Three Forms of Unity. The only other confessionally Reformed/Presbyterian seminary in English-speaking Canada that I'm aware of is Ottawa Theological Hall. If you're comfortable in French, then there's also Institut Farel in Quebec.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I'll take them in inverse order:

3: In general, the three jobs for a man of the cloth are Preaching/Teaching, Pastoring, and Administering. Generally, he's not going to be great at all 3. A big church allows for playing to one's strength; a smaller church is going to require more of a generalist and a competence in all areas is going to be more important. Not being able to speak effectively to groups will certainly reduce ones options.

2: If you wait until the "right" time to marry, it will never get there. You should know if she's the right one within 6 months of starting to date; give it another 6 months to plan and execute a wedding.

1: Get a degree, get a job in a city with a decent seminary, then take classes part time over a longer period for the best shot at financial security.
 

Saxon

Puritan Board Freshman
Are you already involved in pastoral or ministering work, brother?

I ask because there's no substitute for life experience and maturity when it comes to shepherding others. It's OK to be young! But developing an eloquent, compassionate voice takes time and knowing oneself.
 

Minh

Puritan Board Freshman
Are you already involved in pastoral or ministering work, brother?

I have to admit that I have no experience as a worker for the Church of Christ for several reasons. There is not a pastor residing in my Free Presbyterian congregation, which rely on webcast to hear preaching from a distant church. Being the only Christian in my family, I was often forced to stay home on Sunday by my parent. And as a new convert, the Lord is still bringing me up to maturity.

Though I have a great desire to understand His words and to preach it, the Lord was very wise to use this lengthy time in university to sanctify me in His truth before I can be fit for the great task. Sometimes being zealous and enthusiastic as a young person can be catastrophic if without proper knowledge.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Memorize as many psalms as you can. That will really enrich your public prayers (and private ones). Also memorize key passages like the Nunc Dimittis, the Magnificat, etc.
 

Saxon

Puritan Board Freshman
Though I have a great desire to understand His words and to preach it, the Lord was very wise to use this lengthy time in university to sanctify me in His truth before I can be fit for the great task. Sometimes being zealous and enthusiastic as a young person can be catastrophic if without proper knowledge.

You have time! Do not rush or over-plan your journey.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
@Minh, have you contacted your presbytery about your questions? They would be the ones to oversee your studies, and the can provide wisdom and guidance in these areas.
 

Minh

Puritan Board Freshman
@Minh, have you contacted your presbytery about your questions? They would be the ones to oversee your studies, and the can provide wisdom and guidance in these areas.

There is no official pastor or elders in the Victoria Free Presbyterian Church. Only regular attendees meet together in church on Sunday to hear preaching on webcast from mainland Vancouver.

I did have a conversation with my interim pastor about my enthusiasm for the ministry. I express my frustration with him about the fact that I wasn't allowed by my parents to choose any useful major for seminary except engineering, which I am enrolled in. Nevertheless, he explain that my times in university is not in vain since I am not sanctified enough for this task. Also, since I am a recent convert to Christ, I should use this time to make myself worthy as a candidate for ministry (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
There is no official pastor or elders in the Victoria Free Presbyterian Church. Only regular attendees meet together in church on Sunday to hear preaching on webcast from mainland Vancouver.

I did have a conversation with my interim pastor about my enthusiasm for the ministry. I express my frustration with him about the fact that I wasn't allowed by my parents to choose any useful major for seminary except engineering, which I am enrolled in. Nevertheless, he explain that my times in university is not in vain since I am not sanctified enough for this task. Also, since I am a recent convert to Christ, I should use this time to make myself worthy as a candidate for ministry (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
I think you're on the right track, brother. When you approach the end of your undergraduate studies, speak to your interim moderator about it some more, and ask him to bring the matter before the wider presbytery.

Every blessing.
 

Howard the Reformer

Puritan Board Freshman
I have an additional question here.

Does any seminary question whether someone is gifted to preach?

I have observed some seminary trained pastors that are, honestly, quite painful to hear a sermon from. To make a worldly comparison, it would be less painful to watch paint dry.

Is it correct to tell someone who is considering seminary or attending seminary that they are not "gifted" to preach? Or are seminaries more interested in graduating anyone who can pass the course work? Is anyone aware of a pastoral candidate who was told they are not "gifted" to preach and should consider another avenue other than the pastoral ministry?
 

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
Does any seminary question whether someone is gifted to preach?

Is it correct to tell someone who is considering seminary or attending seminary that they are not "gifted" to preach? Or are seminaries more interested in graduating anyone who can pass the course work? Is anyone aware of a pastoral candidate who was told they are not "gifted" to preach and should consider another avenue other than the pastoral ministry?

Yes, I believe seminaries do examine students' "giftedness" for preaching and I'm aware of scenarios where professors have advised a student to pursue a different vocation.

Yes, before a man goes to seminary, his church leadership should examine whether he has some of the basic equipment to preach. Not in terms of exegetical skills, or even homiletical skills, but in terms of ability to communicate/public speaking. If someone struggles to communicate in ordinary conversations, or if someone struggles to string thoughts together (about anything) in a public discourse, seminary is probably not going to fix that. If someone has a poor voice (e.g. quiet or squeaky), seminary is not going to fix that. The basics have to be there and if they're not, a guy has to be told the reality: God is not leading your life to the ministry.
 

Minh

Puritan Board Freshman
I have an additional question here.

Does any seminary question whether someone is gifted to preach?

I have observed some seminary trained pastors that are, honestly, quite painful to hear a sermon from. To make a worldly comparison, it would be less painful to watch paint dry.

Is it correct to tell someone who is considering seminary or attending seminary that they are not "gifted" to preach? Or are seminaries more interested in graduating anyone who can pass the course work? Is anyone aware of a pastoral candidate who was told they are not "gifted" to preach and should consider another avenue other than the pastoral ministry?

I also personally think that in preaching today we ought to be simple and plain as possible. The great churchmen I am deeply indebted of address the flocks of Christ with clear yet convicting preaching.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Can you go and work among the poor? The last name Minh doesn't sound Canadian, do you still speak the language of Vietnam? Can you finish seminary and return there as a missionary?
 

Minh

Puritan Board Freshman
Can you go and work among the poor? The last name Minh doesn't sound Canadian, do you still speak the language of Vietnam? Can you finish seminary and return there as a missionary?

I am afraid that I am more familiar with English as if it is my first language. Gradually, I have difficulties in communicating with Vietnamese after spending a long period in Canada. I do have a Vietnamese bible in case I have opportunity to witness.

It depend on many things when it comes to returning home for missionary trip. I love to marry Canadian woman more! :D
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I am afraid that I am more familiar with English as if it is my first language. Gradually, I have difficulties in communicating with Vietnamese after spending a long period in Canada. I do have a Vietnamese bible in case I have opportunity to witness.

It depend on many things when it comes to returning home for missionary trip. I love to marry Canadian woman more! :D

I would just appeal to you to consider becoming a missionary to Vietnam. There are many gorgeous Vietnamese women, too, ya know, and they need Christian husbands.
 

wcf_linux

Puritan Board Freshman
1) I would echo the advice to take some time working the field for which you have trained, even if only for a small number of years. Get some savings. That gives you options. You could then keep working and do seminary part time (which brings one set of challenges) or use those savings to help get you through seminary full-time. Debt limits your options. I took too much debt in grad school (student loans and other kinds), which is one of the reasons I'm not in the ministry.

If you have some elective credit hours still available before you graduate, try to get some humanities classes in. I'm partial to history, but anything that will give some training in the study of non-technical texts will help.

2) You can't time marriage any more than you can time children. If you meet a good, Christian woman who's willing, that's the time. :)

3) You are right that simple and plain is good. The important thing is to practice. That can take many forms. It can even be simple things like presentations at school or work. Someone mentioned Toastmaster's, which is a good one to look into. Some workplaces even have chapters. You get good at public speaking by doing it. It takes practice to find your voice. I've seen a lot of seminary students who haven't done that yet, and their sermons are halting and lack confidence. That only makes getting started in ministry that much harder.
 

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
If you have some elective credit hours still available before you graduate, try to get some humanities classes in. I'm partial to history, but anything that will give some training in the study of non-technical texts will help.

And the writing of papers. Seminary involves a lot of papers. If you're not used to writing academic stuff, it would be a hard transition.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I have to admit that I have no experience as a worker for the Church of Christ for several reasons. There is not a pastor residing in my Free Presbyterian congregation, which rely on webcast to hear preaching from a distant church. Being the only Christian in my family, I was often forced to stay home on Sunday by my parent. And as a new convert, the Lord is still bringing me up to maturity.

Though I have a great desire to understand His words and to preach it, the Lord was very wise to use this lengthy time in university to sanctify me in His truth before I can be fit for the great task. Sometimes being zealous and enthusiastic as a young person can be catastrophic if without proper knowledge.
My pastors advice would be to learn as much of English grammar before learning Greek and Hebrew!
 

wcf_linux

Puritan Board Freshman
Ask a ruling elder if you can go along on hospital visits.
I would also echo this. Do not underestimate how greatly you bless your brothers and sisters when you visit them in the hospital. My dad spent a notable share of his life in hospitals, especially in his youth and early adulthood. Even when he was old, he remembered gratefully people who had visited him.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top