Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


… for me to stay motivated to finish my Masters of Divinity (MDIV)

WHY?  honestly? I have struggled with this for years due to philosophy and ideal differences, but today while cramming for Greek, I pondered my own soul too and I think there are 3 main reasons.  I’m not saying they are good or whatever, just that they are what they are: 
  1. COMPARISON GAME:  I’m really tired of hearing about friends and co-workers who got it done in less time.  There are days when I just want to quit because my life is blitzed and one class at a time is all I can afford in both finances, time, and energy.  Honestly, I don’t think I would ever do this again this way.  If you are headed for ministry, I would get the seminary thing done ASAP… being a dad, a coach, a student, a pastor, a leader, a husband and yatta yatta is just plain too much and too hard.  This thing just might kill me… especially when Greek is requiring something like 10-15 hours a week.  I would never try and hold all these hats high at the same time if I had another choice.  
  2. ENDURANCE:  This pace means a 2 year full time degree is taking me something like 15 years to finish.  Yes…. 15 years.   So, I’m whittling away, and it’s hard to keep the light at the end of the tunnel in view, especially when I say no to hanging out with my wife or kids on my day off so I can study.  
  3. PURPOSE:  Today while cramming all day for my Greek class, I got a text from a friend who lost his job.  He has a baby on the way, recently became a first time home buyer, and now is looking at no job and no severance.  I wonder what difference my degree will make as I strive to help people relate in the real world.  After hours of writing papers, memorizing stuff I easily had access to in an instant on my computer or shelf, and reading stuff that none of my neighbors even care about, it just wears on me.  Today I spent 5 hours memorizing greek words… and it still wasn’t enough and I had to guess on 5 words on my test.  Really….  I know that knowing Greek can help me study and teach, but sometimes this degree thing seems so far removed from the real world of parenting, soccer practice, hurting friends, and student’s real life struggles. 
SO WHY DO I STAY? I did some soul searching there too…. 
  1. FINISH:  I’m too far to not finish.  Quitting now would be pointless. I can’t quit.  I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if I do.  
  2. BELIEF:  I believe that the subjects and learnings are important- even if I often disagree with the philosophy they employ in teaching it.  I’m determined to be a better pastor by being a smarter student of theology, my Bible, history, and even a better me as a result. 
  3. OPPORTUNITY:  I have no idea what God has for my future.  But the last time God moved me, it became clear to me that without a masters degree, my options were limited.  Whatever God has in store for my days ahead… if it’s in pastoral ministry, a seminary degree will only open doors, not close them.  I can’t say that confidently of the reverse.  
So, here I go… a grip more classes and hundreds of hours of language studies left to go.  Wish me luck.   


  1. I feel ya man; it feels like this will never be done.

  2. neal, you’re on like the 4 year track. Multiply it times 4 and then we’ll talk. 🙂

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