When I received my call from God to preach, I did not receive any instructions that I had to go to seminary. I grew up in a country where preachers were just using their Bibles and depending on the Holy Spirit to preach. So, why then are there so many requirements for us to receive a degree from a seminary so that we can become a preacher? Well, for one, the lessons we learned in seminary will last for a lifetime. I do not believe that we need a piece of paper to say that we can preach, but I do believe that the journey to receive that paper is worth it.
In America today, education costs are higher than ever. This can limit the number of candidates who attend seminary. Many years ago, I told myself that I would not go to seminary because it would only bring “unnecessary” knowledge. However, one of the requirements of my church is to be a seminary graduate, so I did not have any choice. For me, the pros of going to seminary really outdo the cons, and here is why:
1. Seminary opens our eyes to the history of God’s Word and not just to our own interpretations.
2. Seminary teaches us how to appreciate many different interpretations.
3. We get to meet new classmates who share the same life purposes and meanings and who, eventually, become lifetime friends.
4. Learning about God’s Word is important; doing it on our own can be more difficult.
5. Seminary teaches us things that we need to have a successful church in this generation.
The results of going to seminary always outshine the reasons not to go. Though other degrees can be just about work or career, a seminary degree is about our lives. Serving God through preaching is a life calling, and we can use seminary to better that calling and to give us the credentials that society requests. Very few congregations will listen to a pastor who does not possess a degree; this is because today’s generation believes that degrees prove our worth. We can never prove our worth with a seminary degree because the Spirit of God does all the work for us when we preach. Nevertheless, we can prove our commitment to God’s work when we take the time to attend a degree program to learn more about our Biblical history.