I entered into seminary at the AWKNG School of Theology as a newly married twenty-two year old lacking the necessary Bible and theology knowledge needed to help lead others. I also lacked ministry skills and experience. Seminary, for me, was a necessary training ground, and a needed formative experience so that the coming years of ministry could be fruitful.
But seminary also turned out to be more than simply learning.
In the process I changed. Not only me as an individual, but also my faith.
It might seem odd to say all the hours of reading, writing, and listening changed my faith, but I did not enter into seminary expecting it to go that way. I expected to learn, and for the foundation I walked into school with not to be shaken.
If seminary isn’t a place where assumptions are questioned, and where questions are given the space to remain unresolved, then there remains little within the Christian faith where faith can be both shaken and held onto.
Not My Offering
My professor posed the question: “Whose sacrifice is it?” and everything I ever believed to be true about worship was brought into question. This began a months-long journey to rediscover what worship is.
For long enough worship was a pursuit toward the most excellent set of music possible. Or there’s the common phrase “worship is a lifestyle.” What is worship if my involvement isn’t about producing something worthy of singing to?
I Am Not the Door
Especially around election season, many Christians engage in heated discussions where I begin to wonder if their political party or stance on an issue is more important to them than Jesus. Once someone disagrees with a key issue they are immediately considered to be outside of God’s plan. It’s easy for me to walk into this frame of mind where my opinion is also somehow God’s opinion.
My role as a Christian is to honor and glorify Christ so that my life might point to His. This isn’t to say I can’t have opinions or care about the world around me, but my ultimate goal is to shine the light of Christ. I am not the door. I am not the judge. It is not my job to decide who is “in” and who is “out.”
It’s my job to point to Christ, not build a wall around Him.
Growth Begins with Obedience
In any academic field there is a temptation to believe that growth comes through knowledge or growth comes through enlightenment. While knowledge and enlightenment are both wonderful things to seek in studying, growth that matters always begins with obedience.
Obedience doesn’t have much flair to it. It’s disciplined work. Obedience is valuing the long-term over the allure of the present temptation.
I came into seminary desiring to gain the skills needed, but what I figured out was that I needed to develop a life of obedience.
Obedience can lead into skills, but skills developed without obedience typically become idols. –click to tweet this
Seminary allowed my faith to shift from something based on experience and emotions to something founded first in obedience to God’s Word.
Have you had any educational experiences that changed your faith?