Jesus and the disciples never went to Seminary!
When Jesus called the disciples, He called them away from their current vocations to follow Him.
If we understand the word seminary from its Latin root seminarium – which literally means a seed-bed, seminary is like a garden of thought and learning. Based on this idea the disciples arguably received the best “seminary” education afforded to anyone. They experienced three years of intensive day to day training with their master teacher receiving what we would describe today as biblical and theological training grounded in a mentored, practical setting. Additionally, the disciples were sent out to proclaim the good news that the kingdom of God was near. When they came back, they discussed and reviewed their experiences with Jesus. In later years, when the disciples where brought before the Sanhedrin, the teachers of the law who had considered them uneducated could tell they were educated at the feet of Jesus.
A traditional seminary education requires that you take time from your current work in order to study and reflect on a life of service to God through the study of Holy Scripture, the writings and lives of Church fathers, history, prayer, religious education, Orthodox psychology and much more.
A solid seminary education will not spoon feed you the answers; seminary is the “seed-bed” to equip you for a life long learning adventure. At seminary, you are introduced to deep study of Scripture and theological thinking that will equip you to thoughtfully engage the complex issues of our day. You are challenged to analyze current culture and discover Orthodox Christian ways to address its needs.
The ministry skills that are so important to long-term service are taught by people who understand the challenges. Above all, you are taught how to think in a spiritual atmosphere that combines intellect with commitment to Christ and His Church’s mission.
A seminary education will challenge your current beliefs to ensure that they are built on a Biblical and a theologically sound foundation. Seminary training can offer you the time and tools to reflect on what God has given us and how we are to respond. If you feel a call to vocational ministry, or you feel challenged to become better equipped to serve in the setting you are currently engaged, seminary offers many ways to help you. Seminary graduates are prepared to serve God for the long haul, using knowledge and skills that make them effective. The world in which we live and the people we serve deserve no less.
This is the final and most important aspect of seminary training – it is not about education: It is about formation.
You must be formed by the Church as Christ formed the Apostles.
He took three years. So do we.