A military boot camp is an extensive training period for new recruits. They go through gruesome discipline—physical, mental, and emotional discipline. It’s tough. It’s supposed to make them into real soldiers. Ones that won’t back down from a fight, ones that won’t lose from the fight, and ones that won’t be scared to fight when needed.
Seminary is like boot camp. Most Masters level programs take from 2-5 years, give or take. It’s a short period of time in a person’s life. Some take the longer and even more respectful route after their Masters degree, the Doctorate. Whatever degree it may be, it’s a pseudo boot camp for the soon to be pastor, the soon to be bible study teacher, the soon to be counselor, or the soon to be professor.
So during the years of seminary, the years of spiritual and theological boot camp, the seminarian must take their work seriously. Although it’s to be expected, seminary is a place for spiritual training and spiritual discipline. That should be the main focus, that should be the goal of seminary. Reading, learning, and gleaning heavy information that is strictly focused on theology and other tangent subjects is the life of the seminarian.
It’s not easy. I don’t see how it could be easy if done right. If anyone has told you that seminary is easy, they did not go through it the way it should’ve been. It requires restless days and nights. Here are some things that change/occur during seminary: coffee becomes your best friend, your pillow is your long lost friend, you hold books more than you hold your significant other, and prayer once again is your strongest tool.
The years spent in seminary will bear fruit exponentially after seminary. At least that’s the goal and the hope. So it must be taken seriously, it must be entered with a heart and body that is willing to toil and labor for Kingdom purposes, and he/she must be ready to be stretched in all different directions.
I guess this is supposed to be the portion of the article where I write about how it can be easier or list some tools on how to make the years of seminary go by faster, but honestly there isn’t and I don’t think there should be.
The Lord calls those to go through seminary for a purpose, a greater purpose, the purpose after graduation in the local church, in communities, in missions, and in the world. It can’t be easy. How can it be easy? It’s a difficult and serious task that lies in front of us. It won’t be easy, but God will provide and walk with us through our years in seminary and the years after as well. For now, we train, we train hard, we train seriously, and then hopefully we’re ready to take on the world that is in need of the Gospel of Jesus.
By Charles Chung. Charles is a Westminster Theological Seminary M. Div. student from Brooklyn, NY. He is also the youth director at Sheep’s Gate Presbyterian Church in Havertown, PA.