And that leads me to a final consideration: Where is God calling you?
This may sound strange, coming from a seminary president, but I don’t think God calls everyone to pursue a seminary education. There are certain people with such a religious passion that they just don’t need seminary. They are in an inspired hurry to do the work to which God is calling them. For example, I don’t think it would have done Mother Teresa much good to spend her time in seminary. God was calling her to the streets of Calcutta. Her theological education came at the feet of Jesus, as she ministered to the broken and rejected of his children.
But God is calling many others to a time of intense study that seminary can provide. If you are one of those, listen to God’s voice. There is room for people with all kinds of motivations: to get the credentials to enter full-time ministry; to satisfy intellectual curiosity; to test out a call; to find out more of what it means to be a human being.
Theology—studying about God—cuts close to the bone of our humanness. To study the God who made us is a very intimate investigation. The person who studies theology is more likely to be engaged in self-examination than a person who, for example, studies chemistry. Out of that self-examination can come a passion for ministry that can carry over into whatever vocation you pursue.
I encourage you to consider God’s call in your life. As you do so, with prayer and thought and investigation, God will lead you to the place that is best for you, where you can rejoice in his unfolding plan for your life.