Whether God’s purpose in your theological education becomes immediately clear or turns out to be veiled for a time, I suggest that what some people (or your own brain!) might tell you is too difficult, a potential waste of time or money, or too big a risk, is in fact exactly the place that God might be sending you. Maybe he is calling or has already called you into ministry as a vocation or perhaps your degree will be used in less obvious ways. Personally, even if I never get another job in paid full-time ministry, I cannot tally up all the ways my education has changed my life. It has deepened my faith and brought great nuance and brilliant color into my understanding of God. Ministry, service, and church are forever changed for me. My relationship with the Bible has sprouted wings. Vocationally, it has expanded and opened a new realm of possibility that was so far away from my five-year plan that it had never crossed my radar.
It’s easy to tally up the costs of going, but consider the costs of not going. In five or ten years, will you regret that you never started? Will going to seminary be a wistful “I wish …” when you’re older? If God is beckoning you toward seminary, be encouraged. Know what the sacrifices are, but don’t sink into them—for they may derail you from the undeniably challenging but abundantly rewarding path God is trying to guide you towards. And sister, the church and the world need you to be as expansive a disciple as you can possibly be.
Amanda Fowler has a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and after 13 years in Los Angeles has just relocated to her home state of Michigan. She is in the process of discerning what life and ministry look like in a place with winters.