5 Really Bad and 5 Really Good Reasons to Go to Bible College


Really Bad Reasons to Go:

5. Because you are offended, frustrated or disappointed in the local church.  If you go to Bible College annoyed at church, angry at church, opposed to church, I guarantee you will not have a successful ministry after Bible College.  It’s that simple.  Bible College is designed to make you more effective and more utilitarian to the local church.  An increasing number of people are getting offended at local church for a whole host of reasons, and then running away to Bible school.  It helps them feel superior to other Christians who are working in the factory, looking after small children, serving the local church week after week.  That attitude will disqualify you from ministry sooner or later, and once it is seated in you it is really difficult to get out.

4.  Because you have no other options.  It is a truth that during an economic recession applications to Bible Colleges go up a significant amount.  The church needs leaders with a bit more passion for their ministry and their flock than “I had nothing better to do, so I decided to train as a minister…”

3.  Because you think there is money in the ministry.  There may be one day but going after the money is one sure way to ensure your ministry is so unbalanced you never get a large enough following to get any. 

2.  Because someone prophesied it over you.  Charismatics love to prophesy their own emotions and feeling over people.  There are at least a dozen churches in this country where I am been prophesied over that I will be the next pastor.  Er… no.  You cannot be prophesy led, you must be Spirit led.

1.  Because you hate the daily grind of work.  Here’s the brutal truth: if you can’t manage a secular job and church volunteering you should never expect anyone to do what you cannot do.  If you think Bible College is a key to a lazy, easy life you are wrong.  The world has enough lazy pastors, and the truth is that you will be ministering to people who are in the daily grind that you can’t handle.  That means you have no credibility.  Go to Bible College a champion in your work place!  Go for the right reasons!  Take the same overcomer attitude from the daily grind to college, don’t bring a loser attitude from the work world and assume college will work – it’s an attitude change you need first!  Some pastors get together on Monday mornings and discuss quitting because the weekend was so hard.  They discuss how hard pastoring is.  I was in a couple of groups like that on Facebook and so on, and I quit them all for two reasons: 1.  I never want to quit.  The reward is greater than any cost.  2. I don’t think I could ever with credibility get up on a Sunday and say I have the hardest job in the church.  There’s medical doctors and nurses, school teachers, people who work 12-15 hour shifts in factories, people who are in high-pressure sales environments.  I don’t have it hard, I just need to ensure I use the same faith to make it everyday that I preach about.  

5 Really Good Reasons to Go:

5.  You know that you are called to God to minister the Word of God to people and want to be effectively trained to teach and preach the Word to people.  You are not called to College, you are called to a ministry that requires college to prepare you for that ministry.  That way when college is wrapping up (you can’t stay forever) you don’t become a lost little wanderer, but you have a plan for advancing the kingdom and making disciples.

4.  You are a conqueror at life.  You are winning at work, winning with the family, winning financially and you know you have something valuable to offer people.  You have life and life in abundance and you want to share it.  You don’t want to leave your social network or your job because you have learned to love them both and invest your life into something with joy and peace.

3.  You are an integral part of the local church.  If you have learned how to serve in the local church as laity, you will understand the requirements and expectations of serving in the local church.  If you take on an existing church or plant a new church after college, you will succeed or fail because of volunteers.  The way some pastors treat volunteers and speak to volunteers it is clear they have never ever volunteers in a church.  I know one pastor who went to Bible College and was helping a church as part of his placement, then left college and got a secular job.  He immediately couldn’t juggle volunteering at the church with a part-time job, yet when an opening came the church took him on.  I would never take someone on for a paid role who couldn’t do something for free, because every paid role in a church has to be able to manage volunteers.  If you can’t be a volunteer, you can’t manage volunteers.  You don’t get it!  If you are a volunteer, an integral part of the local church then you can grasp what the volunteers you look after will be doing.  Then you are ready for Bible College.

2. You have already conquered the majority of your life dramas.  Of course Bible College isn’t for perfect people.  I was not perfect when I went to college, and I haven’t found a perfect Bible College student yet.  But you shouldn’t be going to Bible College for discipleship, that’s what the local church is for.  You should be going to Bible College to prepare for ministry.  Bible College is actually a really intense time on you – as your ideas are challenged, money is tight, ambitions are dashed, disappointments happen – it’s a real bubble and a really tough time.  I know more couples who have divorced during Bible College than I can count, and that’s a tragedy.  If they had sorted out their marriage before Bible College rather than trying to use Bible College to paper over the cracks in their marriage those tragic situations would never have happened.  Go to Bible College with a strong marriage, without massive gaps in your integrity.

1.  You can see beyond college.  If you can’t see what is going to happen when you graduate, what sort of ministry you will do, what you might become.  Whether you are travelling teacher, a missionary, an assistant pastor, a church planter.  Plans can change, but if you cannot see beyond the horizon of college before you go, I question whether you have a call of God to go.  Your vision should be bigger than college BEFORE you go.

If you are a pastor, and people in your church are thinking of going to college, don’t be shy about asking these hard questions.  The world is desperately in need of Christian leaders with integrity, with passion, with ministry.  It is not in need of another couple divorced at Bible College, people finishing college and wandering around lonely as a cloud hoping someone will one day give them a ministry.  This is serious stuff, and needs to be considered.

Also, notice I haven’t mentioned instructions from God in this.  A lot of people think God is telling them something when it is just pizza from last night, or just the sheer excitement.  A good Bible College is a fine place to be, and because it is only Christians, and only people who are taking the things of God seriously, it can be a lot faster and a lot more exciting than local church.  That’s why some people want to stay there forever.  But the truth is that joining the fast lane of Bible College is only for a few years, and you need to be able to handle the slow lane of life and church.  Ministry is not about getting there first, it’s about taking as many people with you as possible.  If you don’t learn that before Bible College, I doubt you will learn it there.


Published by Tree of Life Church

We are a growing network of growing churches, with services weekly in Dagenham, Guildford, Watford, Croydon, Brentwood and Dorset. We are also planting churches in Cambridge, Suffolk, West Midlands and Hemel. Find out more at www.tree.church, www.tree.church/youtube and www.tree.church/app.

13 thoughts on “5 Really Bad and 5 Really Good Reasons to Go to Bible College

  1. This is very timely! Very helpful too. What do you think though, ministry was never really in my heart – just a deep, craving desire to know God more. Is that not a good reason really in a sense that I wouldn’t have to go to Bible college for that? And just learn to separate myself more with i.e Bible study during everyday life?

  2. Meike, when you say ministry has never been in your heart, I doubt that very much. You are a natural helper and would do anything to help anyone. What you mean is ministry in the model that you understand is not in your heart. Being called to help in the local church does not mean to become more like Richard or me, it means to be yourself and do what God has called you to do. I think if you consider it more that ministry is very much in your heart.

    Yes there is a sense in which Bible College is just an intensive time of Bible study, but let’s never do three years of concentrated Bible study and not have a plan to share that information with others, or to let the change in us through that time be utilized to serve others.

    I hope that makes sense,

  3. Speaking the truth, this is what people need to know. Why would you want to be in ministry if you aren’t called. That is one path you don’t want to take. Good word Benjamin.

  4. The Unadulterated Word of God is more than enough to fix any heart attitude. Your Spirit man being perfect and you conforming your soul man to your already perfected spirit man by the blood Of Jesus Christ. I have gone to Bible College and graduated. I was also perturbed at the church I was attending. Now I cannot say that I had a perfect job or that I was well financed. But what I did have was a heart for God and to know him more. This was something my church was not filling me with, Big deal right? Find another church God knows there is a ton of them, Bit that is different problem for another time. You see my problem was the more I wanted his word the more I realized my Local church could not provide. Why was that? If it is a place to worship and learn more of the father why did I feel I was getting further and further away from his Love? Was this even possible? It is not possible to escape or fall from his love! When he gave us such a sacrifice His only Son to die for us there is no greater show of love. Now it is possible to have your hear hardened to His love by the cares of this world and many other things. I have to disagree with this particular sentence in the above article that says Bible College is designed to make you more effective and more utilitarian to the local church. I disagree whole heartedly, for this is not the case with all bible colleges. I knew people at my Bible College who were there to do nothing more than be a better Christian in their work place, or better serve their own church our pastor. Selflessness was one of the major points of my college how to better serve Gods people. I would not be the same person I am today without my experience in Bible College. Was it hard for me? Yes very hard! If I knew what I was getting myself into I would not have gone which I believe is one of the major reasons God does not let you in on the full picture just glimpses at a time. If he was to show you how your life was going to turn out and all the challenges you were going to make for yourself you would stay cooped up in your house and never leave! What a boring life that would be. I also have to address this statement in the article. – It helps them feel superior to other Christians who are working in the factory, looking after small children, serving the local church week after week. That attitude will disqualify you from ministry sooner or later, and once it is seated in you it is really difficult to get out. – I have a difficult time believing anyone would go to Bible College just for the satisfaction of being better than someone else but if my time in Bible College has taught me anything it never doubt a seed of bitterness. A very nasty root can take hold in your heart and it is nearly impossible for you to pull out by yourself. But if you listen to the word and you allow it to wash you 10 out 10 times you will leave Bible College with an open and guarded heart, I mention guarded because there are people who love to hurt you out in the world and if you know how to guard your heart its equivalent to water off a ducks back. It is not the Bible Colleges fault if a person turned out two faced and malicious in their own intentions to look superior in leadership. It has been and always will be a heart issue between them and the truth. A giant empty whole that they will try to fill with anything and everything they can even if that means hurting other people, and in the end that person will always be empty until they let the washing of the word rid them of their issue. I had a the great privilege of being in a Bible College that Imagine this, Only taught from the bible. My suggestion is to find one similar. I will say that I do not disagree with this article entirely it was well put together and made great points. But if you find yourself in a church not teaching the word or you yourself not learning anything ask yourself this, Am I not learning anything because I know more than what is being taught? If this is the case stay in the church you are at, Stop focusing on yourself and start helping those around you who still do not get it. Your pastor would not be teaching the dame thing over if he thought everyone got it. Sometimes people need a different view or explanation on the subject being taught. Now if you were like I was and you just did not understand anything being said at church maybe it’s time to start looking for a bible college that teaches the Word from the Word.

  5. You sure they had no vision of the end in mind? Jesus was very explicit… Follow me AND I will make you fishers of men.

    If you say Jesus said to you “Go to Bible School” then that’s between you and God. But in my twenty plus years of Pastoring churches and teaching in Bible Colleges around the world, I have found far too many people graduate college and wander lost as can be.

    I expect Jesus to sound the same as He did back then “Go to Bible School, and get ready to pastor a church”, “Go to Bible School and get ready to be an evangelist”.

    Yes, we are always learning more about our call. Only recently God has expanded the call of God on my life, but there should be something more than just going to college.

    As for questioning God’s calling, if it really is God, trust me it is going to get attacked and disparaged a lot more than me asking a few questions, so I suggest if a little questioning is too much for you to question it yourself. Nothing wrong with asking questions and double checking, that’s not doubt and unbelief.

    I hope your call is genuine and I wish you every success in ministry.

  6. Actually, this is not a reply but a concern, just not sure how to add this!

    …but if you cannot see beyond the horizon of college before you go, I question whether you have a call of God to go. Your vision should be bigger than college BEFORE you go.
    The end part of reasons to go Question 1

    Firstly, not one of His disciples knew what God had in plan for him! this was the first thing that came into my thinking.

    Secondly, After working all my life in the real world, since I was sixteen, becoming a Christian at 18 (no Christian background or church). Learning to read after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord, never studied other than bible study, I have a grown up family, Lovely wife, I have left my job, 28 years there and start Bible College tomorrow for one year and I have no idea whats next, but we as a family know it is God’s will for me, my Pastor and the church are with me.. and I believe God will reveal what’s next in the right time.
    Please be careful to question if it’s God;s calling in some one’s life, The twelve disciples had no idea and followed Jesus for over three years.
    Every Blessing in Your Walk with God

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