I am done with seminary (excluding one tiny, non-graded thing to turn in).
Man, it sure feels good to say that. Even more so, I’d venture to say I’m done with education altogether. After 18 years of education, I am done. Unless the Lord has other plans, I don’t plan on getting any higher degrees. My days of formal education are over.
In the post, I would like to talk about the seminary itself, how my seminary was, and what I learned from it.
MBTS stands for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. To be quite honest with you, MBTS wasn’t my first choice. My first choice was SBTS, but they were more expensive. My second choice was SWBTS, but the more I learned about them—and specifically the president at that time—the less I wanted to attend (although, now they have a new president of whom I like). Then I came to MBTS. The more I learned about them, the more I wanted to enroll. So that’s where I went!
MBTS has grown since I enrolled. They’ve become more popular and, if you ask me, are probably the second best seminary in the U.S., just under Albert Mohler’s SBTS. Their commitment to the church, expository preaching, theology, and the like really excited me. I loved their mission, vision, and purpose.
They are led by the youngest seminary president ever—Dr. Jason Allen. He’s a very solid leader and is leading them further in the right direction. He has a great team of educators and leaders around him, including Jason Duesing, Matthew Barrett, Owen Strachan, Jared C. Wilson, and many more. This institution is only going to get better.
What Did I Do in Seminary?
Seminary is fully loaded with assignments, discussions, papers, etc. My specific degree—Master of Theological Studies in Preaching and Pastoral Ministry—was comprised of 45 hours of classes. Thirty-three of those hours were regular (online) classes.
In the regular classes, they followed a similar format. Each week, I would have a question to respond to via discussion board, with a minimum amount of words to write (usually 250), and had to respond to at least two other posts by others. Then, on occasion, I would have a test or quiz, a paper to write, or a book review.
The best part was probably the discussion board, since that’s where I was able to interact with others. However, since that was the closest thing to interaction, it could get pretty monotonous. This is the reason that, in my opinion, residential is much better than online learning. It’s just not the same. But it was still great!
My last 12 hours—four classes—were practicums. That is, they weren’t regular classes. I still had a professor, but with these, I had a “field mentor,” which was one of my pastors, Paul Wilson. I met with him weekly for a bit each time to discuss any reading I had to do, any papers I had to write, or quizzes I had to take.
These four practicums were the best part of my seminary experience, because it was much more hands-on. I wasn’t stuck behind a computer screen, but was fulfilling my seminary duties in the local church.
What Did I Learn?
I could tell you I learned this and that from different classes–and I did—but there are major, fundamental things I learned from my seminary experience.
The first one being that people are still able to have rational discourse and not torch each other. Many times, our discussion post question centered around a controversial issue. Given that this is a Southern Baptist seminary, the majority of the answers were consistent with the SBC. However, there was always a few that have different answers, which always created many questions to that answer—and then the dialogue started. It was great to see.
The second was that God has ransomed people from many places. I didn’t just interact with people from the United States, Canada, and the like. They were people from many other countries that were in my class and it was wonderful to see—that God is still working!
A Great Experience
Even though I just finished seminary, I am of the firm opinion that seminaries shouldn’t even exist. All the education one receives from seminary should happen in the local church. If local churches did their job—of equipping and training aspiring ministers and the like—then seminary wouldn’t be necessary.
But, alas, it is necessary. And it was wonderful to go through it. It was a tremendous blessing and I thank God for it.
Soli Deo Gloria