Setting Goals in Seminary

So, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this semester and trying to determine how I will know if the semester is a success. Is it a successful semester if I get straight A’s? Is the number of pages I read this semester a measure of success? Is going to class every day an indicator of a good semester?

Well, I’m still working on this list. However, I think this is a really good idea… to sit down and determine what “success” looks like for you this semester. Then, when the semester is over, you can pull out the list and have a good evaluation tool. Also, I think it would be good to review the list from time to time during the semester… to remind you of what is really important and what you are really trying to acomplish.

So, with that said I’ll share some of the items that I’m thinking of putting on my list. PLEASE, feel free to share the items that make your list. (Is there anyone who already does something like this? If so, is it helpful?)

Oh, and I decided to add some general categories for the evaluation questions to fall within.

Questions to determine if this semester in seminary was a success(rough draft):


  • Does Just a Gal feel loved, appreciated, and that you devoted enough time and energy to her and the kids?
  • Were you home for dinner most nights?
  • Did you pray and read scripture with the family?
  • Did you consistently pray for your family?
  • Are you paying the bills?


  • Are you more in love with Jesus because of your studies?
  • Did you read, with reasonable care, most of your assigned reading?
  • Did you maintain a “C” or better in all your classes?
  • Do you better understand Genesis – Joshua, its storyline, and its implications on the rest of scripture?
  • Do you have a functional grasp of the Hebrew language?
  • Do you better understand the book of Hebrews, with specific emphasis on texts that previously confused you?
  • Have you been able to transfer what you’ve learned in Hermeneutics into something that is more than mere head knowledge?
  • Have you been able to think more clearly about educational ministry within the church?


  • Have you given excellent service to all your clients by providing clear and timely communication?
  • Have you met all your promised completion dates?
  • Have you found at least 4 sponsors for Going to Seminary?
  • Have you wisely spent your open work hours developing and creating your affiliate marketing sites?


  • Are you serving the local church?
  • Are you involved in a small group and developing meaningful relationships with people?
  • Are you praying for those who don’t know Jesus?


  • Does Just a Gal still find you sexy?
  • Do you eat 3 meals on most days?
  • Have you increased your fruit consumption?
  • Do you get adequate sleep every night?
  • Are you dealing with your stress in a healthy way (or building it up until you blow up)?


  • Do love Jesus more and more?
  • Are you consistent in your devotions (or are you skipping them to write blog posts like this one)?
  • Are you consistently praying?
  • Is your walk with Jesus a treasure and delight?

OK, so there is my rough draft. Please feel free to let me know what you think and/or what is (would be) on your list. I really think something like this is good to help remind you of what you value and what is important. Without it I might just end up trying to get straight “A’s” at the expense of all the other items. However, it is the entire list that defines a successful seminary semester.

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Written by
Ryan Burns
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1 comment
  • I like your list.

    One of the best pieces of advice came from a prof who said it may be a sin for some of us to get an A in his course. Did he encourage us to be lazy and coast? Not at all! But rather there are more important things — our families, the development of our character, serving others — which are summed up in real priorities in our daily lives. Those cannot be sacrificed “for God” as if the end goal was an A.

    Here’s a few others for me:

    Am I accessible to my son, and attentive to my wife?
    Does my wife feel daily affirmed and valued, as my partner is this venture? (For us, she’s a full-time student too, and will graduate before me.)

    I am getting some (at least a little) regular exercise?

    How can each of these streams of life serve the other?
    For example, are the deep theological truths I’m being challenged with being mixed with practice in daily life, like pursuing my wife and developing a lasting relationship with my son?
    How about exercise with my wife, and praying with my son, praying for others, modeling it for him and with him, even from a young age.

Written by Ryan Burns