While in college at Texas A&M, I decided to go on a mission trip with my church. Before the trip, our team leaders did something a little peculiar. They took our team to the local cemetery. As I am not a frequent visitor at cemeteries, I found our meeting place quite unusual. They made us spend about half an hour walking around the cemetery in silence. After we met back together, our leaders challenged us to consider the many graves we saw. Where were these people now? My leaders wanted to put things in an eternal perspective as our team would spend the next six weeks sharing about Christ with unbelievers. Without Christ, how would these people spend eternity? This was a sobering experience.
Just over two years later, I find myself beginning my first semester of seminary.
Countless times I have heard the following stereotype about seminary: “Are you feeling called to cemetery..ahem..seminary?” Ready to replace your passion for evangelism with passion for Greek diagrams? Ready to spend hours reading dead theologians when thousands of unbelievers die everyday? Ready to throw away your heart for missions to make room for a knowledge of first century backgrounds?
People often picture seminary as a place where your faith and passion for the Lord die. A place where your heart stops beating. A cemetery.
However, this has not been my experience. God has used many avenues at seminary to shape me and grow my love for Him.
Greek and Hebrew have taught me to appreciate and understand God’s word in a clear, fresh way. Historical backgrounds have shown me how God’s word radiates goodness in the mist of a wicked world. Church history has encouraged me to persevere, knowing that Christians have faced difficult times in every generation. Theology classes have shaped what I believe and shown me the importance of living with grace and truth. Preaching classes have taught me humility yet also given me confidence.
I have met some incredible people at seminary. Lawyers. Air Force Veterans. Missionaries. Businessmen. People come from all over the United States and even from other countries to attend seminary. I have made friends from Brazil, China, South Korea, and even Pakistan. Many of these people come with their families and make major sacrifices to spend time training for full-time ministry. The friends you make at seminary will challenge you and encourage you to walk with the Lord and serve Him faithfully.
This category may surprise you the most. Culture typically portrays professors as brainy individuals who don’t have time for their students. While this may be true at some schools, my professors defied this stereotype. Many of my professors are top-notch scholars, known all over the world for their excellent work. Despite their superb abilities and seemingly endless knowledge, my professors cared for their students. These godly men and women sacrifice their time to meet with students. They serve faithfully in their churches and model for students how to live humble lives. Their brilliant minds don’t replace their warm hearts. I am grateful for these Christian scholars.
So, ready to take the plunge?
The cemetery where my mission trip leaders took me in college showed me the urgency and importance of our mission to share God’s love with the world. The graves reminded me of the brevity of this life. Likewise, seminary teaches the same lessons as those graves. My classes, friends, and professors have taught me the importance of sharing Christ with a desperate world. They remind me of my purpose here on earth. Life is short, but eternity is long.
If you want to grow your desire to reach the world for Christ, why not take a detour in a cemetery, or even better, a seminary?
By Cameron Sapaugh. Cameron lives in Dallas, TX with his wife Kellie. After graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M, he headed off to Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently in his last semester of the ThM program and hopes to pursue doctoral studies in New Testament in the fall. He enjoys photography, basketball, reading, writing, and windsurfing.