15 Things Seminary Couldn't Teach Me (Gospel Coalition)
Some lessons can’t be learned in a classroom. A seminary education is immensely valuable, offering theological preparation, spiritual formation, and wise mentoring. But many new pastors are discouraged when the realities of their first call don’t line up with what they came to expect from assigned readings and classroom discussions. Bridging the gap between seminary training and real life in a local church, fifteen veteran pastors and ministry leaders offer advice and encouragement related to a host of real-world issues, such as leading congregations through seasons of suffering, handling conflict, accepting a call, leaving a church, and more.
“Many come to seminary thinking that it will teach them everything they need to know for ministry, but seminary is the foundation, not the entire building. Some things are learned only through on-the-job training; which is to say, some things are learned only in life and in ministry. Hansen and Robinson have brought together a number of essays that convey the struggles and joys of pastoral ministry. They remind us that all successful pastoral ministry is a miracle, that apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Here we find words of wisdom that will help prepare future and present pastors for the road ahead.”
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“What would it be like if you could sit down with a dozen or so veteran pastors who have learned from their own successes and failures? What would you ask them, as an aspiring pastor or other church officer? This book is very helpful for all who realize that seminary can’t teach them everything.”
—Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; Host, White Horse Inn; author, Core Christianity
“We are blessed in our modern day to have some wonderful seminaries. And yet even the strongest seminaries fall short of equipping men with the practical tools every pastor needs in ministry. That is one of the many reasons this book is a brilliant, needed resource. 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me is a gift not just for every seminary-trained pastor, but also for every man laboring in the trenches of pastoral ministry. An all-star cast of pastors has been assembled to fill this long-exposed gap in the training of pastors.”
—Brian Croft, Senior Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church; Founder, Practical Shepherding; Senior Fellow, Mathena Center for Church Revitalization, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Jeff Robinson Sr. (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a senior editor for the Gospel Coalition and serves as the lead pastor for Christ Community Church of Louisville. He also serves as adjunct professor of church history at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the coauthor of To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin's Mission, Vision, and Legacy.
Collin Hansen (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) serves as the editorial director for the Gospel Coalition. He previously worked as an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine and coedits the Cultural Renewal series with Tim Keller. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter at @collinhansen.
R. Albert Mohler Jr. (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the ninth president of Southern Seminary and as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Considered a leader among American evangelicals by Time and Christianity Today magazines, Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio program for the Salem Radio Network and also writes a popular daily commentary on moral, cultural, and theological issues.
Daniel L. Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Matthew Z. Capps (MDiv, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; D.Min. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as the senior pastor at Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, North Carolina. Matt has written various articles for websites and blogs, such as the Gospel Coalition, the Gospel Project, and For the Church. Matt and his wife, Laura, have three children.
Jeff Higbie (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is pastor of Faith Evangelical Church in Underwood, North Dakota. He is the chairman of the EFCA Northern Plains District Board of Ministerial Standing and serves as president of the Underwood Ministerial Association.
John Onwuchekwa (MA, Dallas Theological Seminary) serves as pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
Harry L. Reeder III earned an MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary and a DMin from Reformed Theological Seminary. He is senior pastor of the 4,000-member Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. He is also the author of From Embers to a Flame.
Jay Thomas (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as the lead pastor of Chapel Hill Bible Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He was previously the college pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. Jay and his wife, Rebecca, have four children.
Mark Vroegop (MDiv, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) is the lead pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a conference speaker, a trustee of Cedarville University, and a contributor to 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me.