Desire: Have you ever had a desire for something deeper than yourself? Of course, as a Christian, we all have. Has that desire been so strong and so internally compelling that it scared you? Has a desire like this driven you to pursue God in a way that looks very strange to those around you? Do you get up early to read about God and spend time with Him? Do you pick up strange and difficult books to grasp a glimpse into the eternal being that created you? Do you long to know more about Psalm 139 and look at biology through a lens of ‘how God knit me together?’ If you have a desire that has gone deep within you and touched every aspect of your life and the way you see the world. That is a start.
Commitment: Have you thought about being in ministry full time? Many of us dream of a job where we can read, hang out with Jr. High Kids, Counsel or Study all day. Have you feared it yet? Have you come to a point of rationalization where you have to ask, ‘Can I handle it?’ Have you thought through constant interruptions, counseling mothers and fathers whose children have just committed suicide, being there for men and women as their marriages, careers, lives and families fall apart? Have you been afraid of it yet? If so, that is a start.
Compassion: How has your heart changed over the last few years? Not last week for that cute girl who won’t call you back, or last month for that rock band you loved, or last semester after the retreat on Evangelism you went to, over the last few years? Are you more excited to reach the lost because they need Jesus or because you have a new comeback or apologetic to try out? Is your heart driven to love the lost because you remember how you were a hopeless slave to sin, living apart from God, Lost and with No Hope in this world? (Eph 2:12). If you were saved a young age, do you know what your heart is for the lost? Have you found that yet? Paul said he was in the pains of child birth, Gal 4:19, until Christ was formed in these Galatians who already knew salvation but were not growing. Have you gained compassion for the lost and those in need of growth as you look at your own sin and struggle with the flesh? Do you long to come along side your brother or sister in Christ, do battle with them, go through the pain of failure just to reap a moment of victory and pray for God to give growth to that person? If you long for that, it is a start.
Pride: Have you left yourself behind? If you can do anything outside of ministry, go do it. You do not belong in Seminary. Seminary can only mold and shape you to have a more effective ministry. Perhaps that ministry is serving burgers and witnessing to others, if that is your passion, jump on board, join the group, but if you can serve burgers and never care about the customers souls, Seminary is not for you.
Change: Everything above was my journey to Seminary. It has been a 15 year process of prayer, research, God giving the growth as other servants planted and watered the seeds of God’s Truth into me, growing a compassion for the lost to a point of knowing that I could never not be in ministry. Pray, be patient and Trust God. If He wants you in Seminary, you will get there. And if not, you will be blessed with whatever ministry he has laid before you, even if that is ministering to the customers at your local hamburger shack.
Remember: Full time ministers do not often get to work at gas stations, bus stops, restaurants or offices. God still ministers there. We are part of a body of believers. If you are a hand, be a hand. If you are a foot, be a foot. If you are a member of the body of Christ, keep your eyes fixed on the Head, Jesus and serve where you are today. Seminary may be in your path. I embraced the growth He gave me when I was serving pizza, making copies, meeting with college kids, sitting in an office and serving in the local Church while praying about if Seminary was for me.