One Effort To Prevent Failure In Ministry

Every fall and spring I have the joy and responsibility of addressing new students as they enter the College of Southeastern and Southeastern Seminary. I am always excited to do this, but I also have a real sense of burden. Why? Because I know some will never see graduation and some will not last in ministry. Almost all begin with great hopes, dreams and aspirations. “I am going to change the world for Christ.” “My life in vocational ministry is going to make an impact for eternity.” Tragically along the way they get sidelined, fall by the wayside, drop out of the race. The older I get the more acutely aware I am of the fact: it is one thing to start well, but it is another thing to finish well. So, each fall and spring I share the following with our new students. I hope you will be encouraged. I hope together, we finish our race well for the glory of God and the good of His Church.

Being Faithful To The High Calling Of Christ

(“How to Survive Seminary and Make it in the Ministry”)

 Philippians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 10:31

1. Maintain your quiet time, and be active in a local church. Southeastern is not a substitute for community life in the Body of Christ.

Psalm 46:10; Mark 1:35

2. Guard your marriage/family. This is one of Satan’s favorite areas to launch an attack.

Psalm 127; 128; Song of Solomon 2:15; Ephesians 5:21-6:4

3. Pursue holiness by a) protecting your thought life, b) maintaining your integrity, and c) avoiding the places of temptation and evil.

Proverbs 23:7; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Philippians 2:5; Ephesians 4:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:22

4. Remember we are a covenant community that takes seriously our covenant commitments.   Honor your word and keep your promises.

Matthew 5:33-37; 1 John 2:5

5. Watch your finances and always act responsibly and with integrity. This is the number one killer of most students who have to drop out of school.

Romans 13:8

6. Remember you are here primarily to learn, not to teach. However, at SEBTS, we all believe we can learn from one another.

II Timothy 2:1-2

  • Few things are more valuable than a teachable spirit.
  • Study now what you will find difficult to study later.
  • Commit now to continue to study what you are studying now. (Greek, Hebrew, Theology, Philosophy, History, Apologetics)

7. Learn to work with, and get along with, people (develop your “people skills”). In other words, seek to balance both what you believe and how you live.

Ephesians 4:1-6

8. Be responsible and wise in your ministry service for the Lord, following the biblical model of a “shepherd” or “servant” leader.

Mark 8:31-38; 10:32-45; 1 Peter 5:1-4

9. Put no limitations on how and where our King might use you. Ask the Lord to give you the ability to truly pray, “Lord, why should I stay?”

Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20

10. Find a passion for the Great Commission. This is, after all, the final marching orders of King Jesus.

Matthew 28:16-20

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