Though this title may sound a bit cheesy, any seminary student will tell you that one of the best parts of seminary is the lifelong friendships that you form. Think about it, it is most likely the one time in your life that you will be surrounded by a multitude of people all focused on the same mission as you: the glory of God and advancement of His name. Therefore, despite your busyness, it is important to remember that seminary is only for a season so you want to soak up all you can during your time there.
So, how do we make and cultivate these godly friendships? Hopefully these simple tips will help you to be more intentional in doing just that during your time at seminary:
Though this is not a new concept to you, I hate to neglect something that is so fundamental to our relationship with God and thus, our everyday life. If you are currently considering seminary or are making plans to attend soon, begin praying now for God to provide these friendships for you. Pray that wherever God has you, He would provide friends that would help you to grow in your relationship with Him and develop a group of people who will always be behind you throughout your ministry journey. He is able!
This is one thing I love about my school, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, they always stress the importance of the local church and are faithful at keeping students accountable to their participation in one! What better place than the body of Christ to cultivate lasting, God honoring relationships?
The local church provides small groups and service opportunities as well. These are undoubtedly excellent ways to build God honoring relationships, not to mention an extremely biblical model of them. After talking through this topic with various classmates, this was always their number one response of where they made the majority of their friendships.
You just thought this wretched period of your life was done once you graduated college! For singles, as much as you may despise an old dorm room, this is an excellent way to cultivate godly friendships.
Since seminary is only for a season it then seems probable that one can temporarily endure the “hardships,” if you must, of dorm life. When living in a dorm meeting people is effortless. Cooking a meal in the community kitchen, studying in the main lobby, and even getting ready for the day in your shared restroom all present opportunities to begin to build relationships with a multitude of individuals who are of the same gender and like minded.
So go and apply for that old dorm and gain a little perspective on contentment on top of that! For married couples, though you may not live inside the same area as your neighbors, you can just as easily get outside, be sociable, and introduce yourself to those around you!
For me, this has been one of the main ways I have made friends. My husband took a job at a church outside of town with no seminary students and due to this and several other factors, classes have been the primary place where we have been able to meet people!
It is too easy to simply turn to your neighbor and ask “Have you had this professor before?” or “What have you thought of this book so far?” There are a variety of easy and helpful questions you can ask to strike up conversation with your classmates!
Not only do you have the opportunity to build relationships with God fearing individuals but also with people interested in the same area of study/ministry as you! Don’t just go to class and run out the instance that it ends- take full advantage of this time and don’t shy away from class participation and talking to neighbors. Also be sure to see the opportunities for godly friendships that group projects can provide!
I’m not sure what the requirements for your school are, but for Southwestern students we are required to take “Spiritual Formation 1 and 2.” This course is focused on the students’ personal spiritual growth and provides accountability in the spiritual disciplines. In this course, you are in a small group of men and women from your college and then are split up into even smaller accountability groups with people of your same gender.
I went into this class hesitantly but came out of it with strong friendships with some of the most godly people I have ever known. It was a tremendous blessing just to hear one another’s testimonies and to do life together week to week as we prayed for one another, hurt for each other’s challenges, and rejoiced together in one another’s victories.
So, if your school requires a similar course…be intentional in it and don’t just shrug it off! Take the time to invest in those relationships, be willing to be open to this group about your personal struggles, and be faithful to be praying for these individuals God has placed around you.
With all of this in mind, I leave you only with the words of CS Lewis, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”
By Macy Tyler. Macy is a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary working on her Masters of Arts in Biblical Counseling. She is passionate about teaching and counseling women and guiding them to deeper relationship with Christ. She is married to Trey who is also studying at Southwestern and is working on his Masters of Arts in Christian Education. Macy and Trey are seeking to church plant in the future wherever God may lead.