As I’ve been in the process of graduating from Biola University, I’ve wrestled with the same question that many of you have: Where should I go to seminary? Let me tell you a little bit about how a single, jobless college graduate with no earthly constraints wound up enrolling at Denver Seminary.
Following the Green
During my junior year of undergraduate work in southern California, I walked into an opportunity to get my MDiv for free at a school in Florida—a full ride! For months, I talked the school up to my friends, assuring them that I’d settled on my personal plan for the next three years of my life. My parents advised me that it was worth flying out for a visit—it was important to know what I was signing myself up for. So I visited. As it turns out, I don’t like Florida very much, and the school disappointed me. I felt stuck between two unattractive options: three years at an uninteresting school in an uninteresting state or $55,000 to stay at the seminary attached to my university.
Fear- and Love-Based Decision-Making
After talking to my pastor about it, he thought the decision was straightforward: stay at our awesome church and trust God with the finances. This really resonated with me, but I was still sad about forfeiting such a great scholarship. One day, during a sermon on James 4:13-17, God convicted me for weighing my options based on fear. On one hand, I was afraid of having to pay for tuition in California, which inclined me toward Florida. On the other hand, I was afraid of having to find friends, church, and work, starting fresh in Florida, which inclined me to California. Wherever I would have run, it would have been running away. It became clear to me that your decisions can’t be based on fear. Fearful questions I’ve asked myself include, But how will I pay for it? What if the professors aren’t as strong? Will I make friends? and What about my local professional network?
God’s Call, and Dave’s Call
Eventually, I narrowed myself down to three schools, each was out of state and had both good financial packages and friends of mine attending them. It ended up being a “call” that made my decision simple. I won’t get into my whole understanding of calling, but I will say that God’s call sometimes comes through the call of faithful Christians. Literally, I got a phone call one day from my friend Dave—a Denver student—who said, “Jack, come study with me and live with me next year. Let’s do ministry together.” He has since offered to find me a job. So did a professor I met on my visit. I was invited to two churches. For me, Denver was not only offering education and financial help, but community, work, and ministry partnership. In other words, there are people there who will love me and put me to kingdom work. As you discern God’s call, think about money and programs, but also recognize your fears and open yourself to be called somewhere.
By Jack Franicevich Jack is an MDiv student at Denver Seminary. His interests range from the doctrine of the church, theologies of friendship and work, preaching, hymn-writing, and grassroots ecumenism to competitive table tennis, cooking for large groups, classical literature, and organizational development.