My wife is just beginning her seminary studies and that is making me reflect on my own experience in seminary. I had a fantastic experience at McMaster Divinity College and I had a very good theological education. But looking back now after over twenty years in ministry, there are a couple of things that I wished I had learned more about.
I started my theological education in the mid-90s, just as the focus on leadership was beginning. But at that time, it was not playing an important part in theological education. This was something that was really missing in my seminary studies.
Being in different roles, from associate to solo to senior pastor, there were plenty of leadership challenges. I needed to know both how to lead and how to be led. Thankfully seminaries are taking this more seriously now. If you are looking for more in-depth leadership development, I recommend the Arrow Leadership Program.
There was some discussion about mental health in my pastoral care and pastoral counselling courses. However, dealing with mental health issues has been probably one of the biggest challenges I have faced in ministry. And this is the one that I have found myself the least equipped to deal with.
I understand that I’m not a psychologist or professional counsellor, I need more knowledge than I have. This is a definite area that I’m looking for continuing education in. One of the things that I appreciated about being a military chaplain was the emphasis on mental health. The church needs to catch up.
What areas do you wish seminary had emphasized more?