This is a guest post from Lance Mauldin, who serves as a CMI for the Murray State University BCM. Lance is a MSU grad, avid Florida Gator fan, student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a college ministry leader at Westside Baptist Church.
#1) I am not as smart as I thought. I used to think I had a pretty good grasp on what the Word had to say. But I was completely blown away with what God had in store for me. Seminary is tough, but it's definitely strengthened my walk with Christ.
#2) I need to stay humble but hungry. One thing I knew I didn't want to be when I got to seminary was someone with a big head and a small heart. There's lots of information in the Bible, but I didn't want to become arrogant or condescending to others because of my studies. That's why it's so important to keep our focus on the Gospel and how we can grow in our knowledge and understanding of it.
#3) Seminary is not necessary. Yeah. I just said that. I could have picked up any book I read this semester on my own from Amazon, met with some other pastors and learned ministry from them, and not spent one dime on tuition. Being a seminary student isn't what's set me apart for the ministry. A loving local church did that this year when they ordained me. That's the cake, that the local church sends ministers. Seminary is the icing. It's helped affirm, support, and prepare me for serving the church, not the other way around.
#4) Seminary helps. I think the best thing about seminary is how it's affirmed and tested my faith. I'm not just looking at a narrow set of beliefs, I'm pushed to consider how others look at and interpret the Bible, and then figure out how it meshes with the Truth. It's helped me to identify and engage with the false teaching that's everywhere today.
#5) I have to apply the knowledge. If everything I learn in seminary stays in my head and never gets applied, it's useless. It'd be like seeing a stop sign, reading what it say, and then blowing through it into oncoming traffic. That's what Jesus is after in the Sermon on the Mount, we have to apply what we know in order to truly live out the Gospel.
#6) Jesus Christ is the main thing. There's so many guys who want to be the next Piper or Spurgeon it seems. And when they try to be something they're not, they're really taking their eyes off the prize: Jesus. That's why I keep coming back to Philippians 2, especially v. 5 where we're to have the mind of Christ in everything we do. I'm sorry young theology debater guy, there's much bigger things out there than arguing the extent of the atonement. Our work as seminary students and as ministers is to reflect Jesus everywhere we go so that the Gospel might be proclaimed.
#7) The Word of God is precious. If anything, my time in seminary has shown just how much a treasure the Word really is. It changes lives because it really is God's Word. It points out our sin, points to the cross, cuts to our soul, and is living and active now just as it was in Acts. It's the basis of our faith, it's reliable, and it's something we should read and learn as a regular part of our spiritual growth. I've learned the best practice of all is to not neglect my time in the Word with my Savior.
Scott's note: Lance I'm so proud of you for all you've done and how God has worked in your life. I really believe He has some big things in store for you! Now, get back to reading!
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.