That title is a bit of a set-up. My seminary experience has been all about growing in knowledge, being in community with other believers, and being challenged with questions that I don’t yet have answers for. I came to seminary for me. I came here for my growth and my development.
But it isn’t for me. I am here for the people that I’ll work with in the future, for the clients I will spend time counseling, for the friends I haven’t made yet, for the younger generation that needs a hero. Seminary isn’t for me, it is for them.
I hope to leave seminary as something other than what I came in as. As a guy from a small town, I have not had to deal with much diversity. My hometown is one of those where everyone knows everyone. I haven’t been challenged too deeply by theological complexities or difficult moral dilemmas. My experience in a small town has been great, it helped me to be a “good guy”, but it hasn’t made me a strong man of faith.
Wherever I end up in life they are going to need adults, men and women, who are willing to talk about their faith. It has been all too common so far for adults (in my experience) to talk mostly about sports, hunting and fishing, or their newest shopping find. Those things are fine and good. But I need to come out of this, ready to lead people into the command of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
I haven’t experienced much of that so far in my life. I feel so strongly about this and cannot emphasize it enough. We, as the people of God, need to be talking about Him, we need to be bringing Him into our everyday life, our everyday conversations. What I’ve seen an experienced has not been enough.
Seminary is preparing me to push the people I come into contact with to live authentic Christian lives. Our world is in flux, and there are pressures and challenges everywhere. But rather than vilifying, or turning our gaze on our fears and worries. We have to be brave enough, and humble enough, to turn our gaze to the mirror. We need to look at how we are living. Seminary is preparing me for that.
By Nate Roschen, Small Town Pastor / Denver Seminary Student / Blog: overproportionate.blogspot.com