Somewhere I heard that most of today’s best-known pastors didn’t go to seminary. As I recall, this observation was brought up in the context of criticizing the very concept of graduate-level ministerial training. The implication was that the time spent learning about the Bible would have been better spent learning about marketing (or the internet or psychology or something practical).
This criticism didn’t have a lot of weight for me — I just knew seminary had been good for me and I continued to recommend it to any minister who loved learning.
But I realized this morning that the allegation was untrue. Not only have lots of the big-name pastors gone to seminary, I would say that the majority of those that we first think of are seminarians.
- Andy Stanley — Dallas Theological Seminary
- Craig Groeschel — Phillips Theological Seminary
- Rob Bell — Fuller Theological Seminary
- John Ortberg — Fuller Theological Seminary
- John Piper — Fuller and the University of Munich (Ph.D.)
- Tim Keller — Gordon Conwell and Westminster Theological Seminary (Ph.D.)
- Rick Warren — Fuller Theological Seminary
There are several who haven’t. Bill Hybels hasn’t gone to seminary, for example. I don’t think Ed Young, Jr. has, either. Joel Osteen hasn’t. Mark Driscoll is, I believe, finishing up a seminary degree right now.
But from what I can tell the majority of nationally-known Christian pastors have gone to seminary.
I’m not saying that going to seminary will guarantee you a numerically fruitful ministry — but I can guarantee you that it won’t prevent you from building a numerically fruitful ministry, either. And you’ll be a better person for having gone.
In an age when seminary gets a lot of knocks, I thought that was worth sharing.