Maybe three years ago, I had the idea to go to seminary. I started researching different seminaries in the area, learning the difference between a seminary, school of theology and school of divinity. Of course, then, I start looking at schools all over the country and thinking other crazy things, like pursuing a PhD. Lady MMT had a better idea, why didn’t I talk to some people and really get an idea of whether it would even be something for me? So, I emailed (this was pre-medication) my Sunday school teacher. We were at larger church then and our class was almost 50 people, he had been to seminary and was actually ordained, so he had a lot to offer me. On top of all that, he was a smart, successful and discerning man.
He mentioned a few things to me to start with about seminaries in general, such as accredited vs. unaccredited (his was not), cost, and seeking ordination. Then he got into the challenging parts, such as why? And his first question, I can still hear perfectly how it played out:
“MMT, how do you like your job?”
“Oh, hate it more than anything, why?”
“You can’t go to seminary as a way to escape a job you don’t like. You will fail everyone, yourself, the people you minister to and God.”
Like a freaking punch to the heart. He was right, though, my main reason at the time was more of a ‘why not?’ than an ‘I hear a Call from God’.
At the time, I was involved in leading a young married Bible study, but that was about it. I had always had a heart/passion for youth ministry, or at least I thought I did, so he suggested I contact the youth pastor and try to get involved there. I knew that I would never be a preacher and was generally unsure of what type of ministry I would go into, so it seemed like a great idea.
That’s how I ended up teaching Sunday school/Bible study to 11 6th grade boys. That is another story all together.
A year or so goes by and Lady MMT and I are looking for houses in a different area all together (somewhere we could actually afford). This led us to look for different churches. We found a few and, unbeknownst to me, LMMT decided to start contacting any church that didn’t have a worship minister listed on their website. One actually contacted her back, a church plant basically in the middle of where we were considering moving.
Long story short, she ends up on part-time staff there and we move. I jump in on the youth ministry there and start talking with the pastor (who went all the way to PhD in Theology) about seminaries. He was more or less opposed to most of what my previous council had encouraged me to consider. He was less focused on a fundamental mentality and emphasized the academic and critical integrity of different institutions. He even recommended against one of the institution where he had taught courses.
Between the house and escalating frustration at work, at essentially dropped the idea of seminary. We were working on an absolutely massive project at work, I was frustrated with my church ministry, and LMMT was considering spending more money on launching another CD. All that together, plus a bit of a darker general period in my life, really moved me away from God in general and ministry in particular.
In the past six months or so, all that has changed. I’ll wrap this up, though, to be continued….