Any Advice?

Hey Everyone,

I know that a really random group of folks find their way here from time to time…

Some of y’all have been to various seminaries, or are even students now.

For a couple of years now, I’ve been trying to figure out what ot do with the nagging itch to take some seminary classes.

My dream is to plant a couple of churches and then go overseas and plant churches in un-reached nations, and it seems like some extra education would be helpful.

I’m not sure I want to put in the years to get a whole degree, but I would like to learn greek and take N.T. 1 and 2 and O.T. 1 and 2 and maybe a hermeneutics class or two…

God has gifted me with a work/family situation where I think I could pull off one class per semester, and, as it happens, there’s a pretty good seminary just a half-hour away in Wake Forest.

But here’s the thing: I checked out what it would cost, and since I’m not an ‘official’ Baptist, it would be right around $1,000 per class, which would be $3,000 – $4,000 a year, depending on how agresively I studied.

Given our mound of debt we’re trying to pay off, that’s out of the question…

But I know there has to be some help available.

I just know that someone, somewhere, donated a bunch of money and said, “I want this to go to someone who wants to understand the Gospel and the scriptures better and is committed to using it — all the way to the ends of the earth.”

I’m that guy!

So… I was wondering…

Does anybody know of some financial help available to take part-time seminary classes?

Any advice/thoughts/’yo momma’ jokes?

Thanks!

6 comments

  1. If you’re not in the SBC, I have found that there is not a great amount of help in that area. Many state conventions have funds for this, and there are some merit based scholarships, as well. Have you talked to the office of financial aid at SEBTS? Also, there are payment plans that you can do to make monthly payments (ours is about $800 a month for four classes). If that would make it easier, I am sure they must have something like that.

    Glad to see you are taking steps in that direction, bro. It’s costly: trust me, I know.

  2. Matt had a Kessee grant, based out of Virginia. I think it might be just for full-time students, but definitely worth checking out.
    You could also check into some schools that offer online classes. CIU is an awesome recommendation. http://www.ciu.edu.

  3. I would encourage you to pray. If this is God’s will, He may very well make it possible to take some classes by you receiving a financial gift or something. Have you looked at maybe online learning? Maybe the CC Bible College has some distance courses that would be less expensive? It’s also possible you could do maybe a self study. And, if nothing else, I know LOTS of pastors who haven’t taken any classes and can still break down scripture. In fact, sometimes relying on the Holy Spirit is way better than a class where you might be offered man’s point of view and not God’s. All I know for sure is that if God wants you to go, then He will make a way for it to happen. And if He doesn’t, He has another plan all together that will blow your mind! I love you much and I’ll be praying that God will make His will totally clear!

  4. I have 2 pieces of advice.

    1) Covenant Theological Seminary offers free classes online at http://www.worldwide-classroom.com/ There are no assignments but the lectures are there and you can “take” almost any class except languages.

    2) If you don’t want to put in the time for the degree anyways I wouldn’t bother taking them for a grade. I think you can audit most classes at SEBTS for like 25 bucks…at least thats what Bruce Ashford told me one day. If you audit, the teacher MAY grade your assignments and tests but I dont know for sure.

  5. Zeke–I may be against the grain somewhat here, but a couple thoughts. You mentioned, “My dream is to plant a couple of churches and then go overseas and plant churches in un-reached nations, and it seems like some extra education would be helpful.”

    Education is wonderful. A useful tool, profitable across the board. I think it’s pretty clear from Scripture that we’re to live lives of “ascension”, learning, growing, developing into Christ. Having said that, I’ll throw out the other side of the coin as well. I’m not saying you’re Wayne Grudem or John Piper–but with the given people groups in question (unreached nations), I do believe that you, and many Christians are able today to do the work of church planting in unreached nations. I know you–and I wouldn’t say that on a whim. Don’t get puffed up–I’ve heard you fart too. There, world, I said it.

    In completely unreached people groups, planting a church can be just that. Like digging holes and lifting lumber. I’m serious. With my (admittedly) limited experience, I would’ve traded some bible study for a shovel–or at least to have my fingernails back from digging a post hole with my arm. It was stinky, sweaty, painful, and sometimes scary. But the very present issues weren’t predesination/election or Arminianism, but how do I get food this week? Is my baby going to die of Malaria? Can you help me carry this water jug on my head? I’ve got this nasty growth on my throat, am I going to die? And believe me–it was nasty. The message was simply Christ, and Him crucified. Would that foundation be built upon in coming months? Without question.

    If I could have chosen between a tenured seminary professor or a burly carpenter with a heart of service–the latter all day long. Might be worth some exposure to some hard areas, then assessing prayerfully what you really believe you need and gaining it–seminary could be that very thing. Be “onsite” might help assessing the toolkit.

    These are my thoughts. I’ve been wrong many times. Today could be one of those.

  6. Thanks for the thoughts everybody!

    Now that I’m at work I don’t have time to really respond right now… but I think I mostly agree with everybody in a way…

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