Tomorrow at 3PM my seminary career comes to an end. It is unreal that three years have passed since we left Albuquerque, Desert Springs Church, and much of our family to move to Minneapolis: our youngest son was only 8 months old and could neither crawl nor talk. More relatedly, I had *no clue* as to what I believed or why I believed it.
The bits of this time that strike me as most important upon reflection now line up as follows:
- *Carefully* choose your seminary, based on faculty and curriculum (do they teach Scripture as authoritative and sufficient?)
- Absolutely make sure that there is a solid local church that can take you in and be God’s means of serving you every week (that’s right; seminary isn’t the best time to stretch yourself thin with activities, but it essential that God minister his gospel to you week in, week out, through the preaching of the Word and administration of the Sacraments)
- If you are going there to prepare for Christian ministry, find others who are dedicated to the same goal and spend *much* time with them in prayer, fellowship, and digging in the Bible (make some life-long friends who love Christ’s church)
- If the school has a behavioral covenant, make sure you want to keep it, no matter what, before you sign it (your integrity comes before your beer, I think)
- Read stuff that is not theology or devotion (whatever it is, make sure it makes you think)
- Do the extra work/reading it takes to keep your head and heart straight when confronted with new and challenging ideas (whether they come from biblical studies, theology or practical courses/profs)
- Involve your wife and kids as much as you can in your studies (what you say will occasionally be interesting or helpful, and the kids won’t destroy your books)
All of these things I wish I had known before I began here at Bethel. I was able to do some well, and others I putzed out on nearly totally. It has been a difficult, but providentially-grace-filled, experience here and I think and pray that God will use it for his glory and for the salvation of his people in the place we hope to be soon. I am so very thankful for Bethel, for both the good and the bad stuff.