A recent article on this site brought some attention to the costs of seminary. Having graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in 2008 I know all too well the cost of a seminary education. The cost is high, and yes I will carry student loans for quite some time.
The value of what I was taught cannot have a monetary value. Let me explain the benefits of our residential seminary programs.
- The instruction is first rate, and no internet video link can replace the experience in and out of the classrooms. I would like to see gemütlichkeit done through distance education! Then again, maybe I wouldn’t. Also, there is nothing like hearing the Gospel in the office of a professor or receiving specific instruction in theology.
- The chapel experience in Fort Wayne was probably one of the most formative things about seminary. A lot of pastors will tell you that chapel is what they miss most about seminary days.
- Having to move multiple times actually helped prepare my family and I for life in the parish. (being removed from the hometown was good [hometown prophets receive no honor]; having to give up the past life was also good [dropped the nets and moved on])
- The friendships established there continue on today and often provide for mutual conversation and consolation.
- The content of what was taught is a deep well that I draw upon in everything I do as a pastor.
- At seminary men are trained to preach the Gospel, and laborers for the harvest are sent. Who can put a value on that?
- Nowhere else do you find such expertise in so many theological topics as among the faculty of our seminaries. Imagine not only sitting in class, but having conversations with them during after chapel coffee, around the beer keg, among the cigar smoke, or even while eating meals.
For all of those men thinking about seminary, don’t cut it short and try anything but the real deal, the full-time experience. You will not regret it, and Lord willing, if you are given hearers to be a preacher for, they will not regret it either.
Here are some thoughts of things to help lower the cost of our seminary programs on seminarians.
- Donate money to the Joint Seminary Fund, more info on it here.
- Adopt a seminarian (even $20 a month helps!), more info here for Fort Wayne; here for St. Louis
- If you know someone going to seminary, offer to help buy some of their textbooks. Both seminaries bookstores are operated by Concordia Publishing House and should accept CPH gift cards.
- Support the Co-ops at the seminary. These provide food and clothing and many other things for seminarians and their families. For the Fort Wayne coop see here. St. Louis also has a co-op program I believe.