About a month ago, Kari wrote a post talking about the need to mine the treasure that is the faculty at your seminary. I have also written on this topic and shared tips on how to mine this treasure. Kari’s post actually got me to thinking in a different direction: our fellow students are our colleagues in both school and ministry and therefore, we should look to them as well as the professors.
I have just recently come out of a season of much change and trouble. I have learned must about who I am in Christ and how much I still have to grow, but I have also learned that another resource we as seminary students have at our disposal is one another.
To give some quick personal background since my last post here at GtS, my family has moved (in the middle of the semester), I started elementary greek in seminary, I have basically gone head first into a children’s ministry with not much prior experience, and have had to deal with some major family issues with parents and such. With that as the background of the past month and a half, I have come to realize that I need to prioritize all that I am doing and have actually began the process of shedding some of my smaller responsibilities. I have also learned to rely upon my fellow students for advice, encouragement, and direction.
To Know or Not to Know
It is so easy to go through seminary and never get to know your fellow students. I cannot count the number of times I have run into someone off campus and had no idea what there name was or how I knew them. Most of the time I would eventually figure out that I had a class with the person but still had no idea who they were.
We are quick to say a meaningless “hello” or “How are you doing?” where we really do not expect an answer. I think it would be worth our while to get to know at least one new person in a class each semester. Perhaps it could be someone you sit next to or someone who you got notes from or it could just be a guy you have had a couple of other classes with. In any case, taking them to coffee or lunch just to hang out and get to know them better will do wonders for you and for them.
Another area to get to know people is asking them how you can pray for them. Inevitably, they will have a prayer concern that you can lift up on their behalf to God. There have been a couple of guys that I have been moved by the Spirit to pray for on my campus. They were usually someone sitting next to me in the cafe or in the study lounge of which I had never met prior to that day. In all cases, whenever I see these people on campus, I remember that I prayed for that person and I say another quick “generic” prayer for them.
Selfishly, I want as many people praying for me as possible. Your fellow students cannot pray specifically for you if you do not make your need known. Knowing that I have had numerous people praying for me in a specific manner (including the writers here at GtS!) has been a great ministry to my soul. There were a few days that knowing others were praying for me motivated me to get out of bed or go to class or just keep plugging away despite spiritual, emotional and physical exhaustion. Just having someone ask me how I was doing meant the world to me.
I do not write the things I write because I am smarter than everybody else nor do I have it all figured out. More often than not, I am sharing what I have learned through my personal experiences-most of the time through failing. Many seminary students want to “network” with the professors because they are the men of influence here and now. I would exhort everyone to “network” and focus on the student body. They are the future of your denomination whether they are pastors, music leaders, professors, or denominational leaders.
Laying a foundation with your fellow students and ministers of the gospel today through prayer and fellowship will be huge in the years to come. I have already learned that from experience this semester. I can only imagine how this will impact any future ministry.