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.