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4 Surprising Benefits of Seminary

What I learned in a classroom that proved helpful in leading a church.
4 Surprising Benefits of Seminary
Image: Chris Bell Photo / lightstock.com

There’s a small printed card in the seminary cafeteria, in front of the apple basket: “Take only one apple. God is watching.” Another (hastily handwritten) card sits in front of the chocolate chip cookies. It reads: “Take as many as you want. God is watching the apples.”

That’s the way I heard the joke, anyway. And for a season in my life, that joke was how I thought about seminarians—they were witty, often used God in their witticisms, and loved to outsmart others.

The church where I spent most of my formative years didn’t have a high view of seminary. We thought it was for ivory-tower types who lacked the grit and urgency to do real-world ministry right now.

My views shifted during my undergrad years at a Christian liberal arts college and three years as a youth pastor working for a senior pastor with an M.Div. I vividly remember hearing a classmate in a biblical literature class say, “I don’t need to get grades. I’m going ...

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