When preparing to enter a seminary for pastorate studies, it helps to keep several relevant things in mind to facilitate your program of study and support your success.
Becoming an ecclesiastical leader in 2020 can be complicated.
Luckily there are a number of resources to help you navigate it. Here are some ways to make the most of your seminary experience as you prepare for a life-long pastoral career.
Maximize Supplemental Studies
In addition to successfully completing your program studies, take advantage of supplemental learning opportunities to enhance your seminary experience.
As you build a solid foundation for future pastorate work, you can benefit now from attending guest lectures, viewing recommended videos, downloading suggested sermons, and conducting additional research on ecumenical topics of pastoral interest.
Building your own areas of expertise and taking your own angles will give you more opportunities and greater personal fulfillment.
Find Mentors for Support and Assistance
Seminary professors and their colleagues who are established in the field are often willing to serve as a mentor to aspiring students.
A mentor can answer questions and provide guidance as well as serve as a reference eventually when you graduate and begin to apply for professional positions.
Mentors can help you to effectively explore the landscape of academic preparation for a pastoral career and can offer valuable tips and advice that might save you time, frustration, and money.
Consider what fields of study you are especially interested in and find mentors and guides to those elements of seminary. If you can’t find expert clergy in that field at your seminary, an email or simple reaching out can go a long way.
Establish a Network of Colleagues
On the same track, the right mentor can help you build relationships with many other people in the ecclesiastical world. Your study years preparing for a pastoral career not only involve dedicated learning but also involve meeting people in the field that you might stay in touch with for the rest of your life, including faculty, advisers, and administrators.
Students that attend classes with you can also become part of your professional network so that you can help each other study for exams and launch careers after graduation. This network of associates often provides an accountability factor in encouraging you to attend classes and keep up your grades when you become discouraged or careless.
other valuable tips:
These same colleagues may continue to be available when you lead a church congregation or ministry someday and face similar challenges. In turn, you can help to provide support for them as well.
Take Practical Steps to Prepare for Your Future
As you work through your seminary courses, find ways to learn more about the actual role of a church leader from a practical standpoint. Consider shadowing one or more clergy to observe how they handle their jobs.
Talk to colleagues about their expectations for the next generation of church leaders. Browse clerical garments like pastor stoles, robes, and regalia to learn what they mean, and which might apply to your future position.
Seminary studies are an exciting opportunity to build a meaningful future. Make your time in the program extra meaningful and fulfilling by considering the above tips. Your studies are your own, this is your time to figure out what you want to focus on and how you want to build your future career.
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