Growing up at Seminary
By Kessia Bennett
On a scale of 1 to 100, my enthusiasm to attend the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary was right around 8. In my mind, Michigan was a frozen tundra in a far-away land, and going there meant leaving the ministry in which I was so happily serving. It meant more packing, more moving boxes, more paint jobs, and more goodbyes. Inwardly I sighed as I thought about spending three years in a place that people jokingly called the "Cemetary". The year was 2008 and the Oregon Conference leadership was sending me to get my Masters of Divinity degree. Reluctantly I packed, painted, and pained as I said goodbye to my friends until 2011.
Three years later I am grateful for the compulsory trip to Seminary. I had expected to learn a few things, make a few friends, and grow a little bit. In reality, I learned a great many things, made close and long-lasting friends, and grew immensely. Seminary completely surpassed my expectations in every dimension. As I sat in the classroom, my heart thrilled at the opportunity to think deeply about Scripture and the praxis of my faith. As I mingled with my colleagues, I experienced such meaningful Christian kinship that I knew I had made friends for life. As I communed with God in my local ministry and in my personal worship, I watched in wonder as He made me more like Jesus. I graduated from Seminary as a wiser, godlier, and more committed Seventh-day Adventist Christian.
Some people question the necessity of sending ministers to Seminary for additional schooling; others are suspicious that too much education will ruin the simplicity of a person's faith. However, as an alumna I do not have less passion, but a better directed passion; I do not have less faith, but a more educated faith.
The story is told of the Latin and South American revolutionary Che Guevara with his guerilla fighters preparing for war. There in the jungle he did not merely inspire them with speeches or command their obedience, but he taught them math, history, and literacy. Why? He is reported to have explained simply, "Because an educated soldier is a better soldier."