by Dr. Samuel Galloza,
So, you have felt the leading to attend seminary in order to better prepare yourself for ministry and/or increase your knowledge. The questions that you are faced with include, which seminary do should I attend?, where?, what should I major in?, [and with today’s technological advances] should I attend a brick and mortar school, or study online? Of course there are many other questions, including time, costs, etc. However, I would like to address the question, Is Online Seminary for Me?
So why consider online seminaries? An online seminary can be both, time-efficient and cost effective. Online seminaries do not carry the large amount of overhead costs found in regular brick and mortar schools. No need for housing, travel costs, and in some cases, books for the student. For the seminary, lower budgets due to the absence of buildings and grounds, increased staffing, and operational maintenance can be reflected in the cost of attending by offering a lower tuition.
Time efficiency is another factor when the online programs are self-paced. With no restrictions on time or due dates, students can move forward at a pace that is comfortable and convenient to them. Self-paced programs allow the students to begin their programs at any of the year. There is no need to wait for the beginning of a new semester. There are no need to take summer breaks, reducing the time required to complete the programs.
A final point I would mentioned is the convenience of online seminary. Instead of going to seminary, seminary comes to you. You can work on your courses from any location where an internet connection is available.
To summarize, time-efficiency, cost effectiveness, and convenience represent some of the benefits of an online seminary education. This creates a great option for those who want to attend seminary but find restrictions based on their current financial situation and/or lack of time. Also for those who are not able to get away to attend a seminary due to their current responsibilities as full time ministers, work, or family.
Finally and most importantly, prayer should be a vital part of your decision making process. You should only attend the seminary that God has confirmed for you to attend. There are many great schools out there, with a great number of programs and benefits. However, in determining what seminary you should attend, you will only be in the center of God’s will for your life when you attend the school that God has chosen for you, whether brick and mortar or online.
Take the time to prayerfully consider your options. Then only make your decision only after receiving peace from God in the option that most appeal to you. God’s plan for your preparation is perfect. Aligning yourself with His plan is your primary focus. Which seminary to attend is simple when we leave it in the hands of God and seek His guidance.
Dr. Samuel Galloza is President of Northwestern Theological Seminary and a Senior Student Advisor to the Online Seminary Division.