The task of choosing a seminary was not something that I went about on my own. When I first decided that I wanted to go to seminary and started looking at schools I had no idea as to what criteria I should have when evaluating a school. So I decided to seek out the advice and wisdom of pastors and friends who had either graduated from seminary or were currently enrolled. These conversations helped me identify several criteria that were important for me in deciding on a seminary.
Ministry was not on my list of what I wanted to do with my life after high school. As such I didn’t attend, or even consider attending, a Bible college. When ministry did become what I wanted to do with my life I found that this decision would have a significant influence on where I chose to attend seminary. Through the conversations with my pastors and friends I came to realize that it would be important for me to make up what I missed out on by not attending Bible college so that I would be able to understand (to the best of my human ability) what it is I would be ministering.
I was also unsure of what exactly I wanted to do in ministry, so I decided that a school that would allow me to function well in a variety of ministry settings regardless of what program I decided to pursue should be a criteria as well. I also wanted to avoid having to change schools should I decide to minister in a setting that requires training not offered at the school in which I enrolled.
I also came to realize that the location of school and the effects that would have was also an important consideration. It was important for me to not have to adapt to a completely new culture, live somewhere with a high cost of living, or live somewhere the weather was not agreeable to my tastes (I’m from Florida, so a harsh winter was something that would make me miserable).
Doctrinal positions and denominational affiliations weren’t huge factors for me in my search. I certainly wanted a school that was orthodox in their doctrine, but since I wasn’t raised in a denomination, or even a tradition of any sort, many of these positions weren’t well defined for me.
Lastly, and certainly most importantly, I wanted to go where God was leading me, even if that meant going somewhere that didn’t meet any of my criteria.
In the end I decided on Dallas Theological Seminary. I found they offered enough programs to allow me the flexibility to change my mind as to which course of studies to pursue and not have to enroll somewhere else. I also felt that their programs could make up for my “Bible college deficiency” and help me really understand what it is that I would be ministering with the depth of their Bible and theology courses. It was also a plus that the winters in Dallas are tolerable for a lifelong Floridian like myself.
While DTS was a good fit for my personal criteria none of that mattered if God didn’t want me there. So I began a long process of praying and asking God if DTS was where He wanted me to go. Eventually the answer became clear to me: “yes, DTS is where I want you.” So I applied and was accepted and I am currently in my second semester of studies. I found many other good seminaries besides DTS during my search, but in the end DTS was where God wanted me and so it is where I am.