What Is Seminary and Should I Go There?

Seminary students in bible study

If you are a person of faith who feels called to share biblical teachings with others, you may be wondering, Should I go to seminary? But exactly what is seminary and what are the seminary school requirements? Explore your potential path here.

Grand Canyon Theological Seminary (GCTS) is the College of Theology’s graduate school at Grand Canyon University (GCU). Its purpose is to form Christian leaders theologically, spiritually and professionally and equip them to minister faithfully and effectively within a challenging cultural context. 

A Christian theological seminary is also beneficial in expanding your knowledge of the Bible. If you feel called to a life of ministry and are considering going to seminary, here are some factors to consider and questions to ponder.

In This Article:

What Is Seminary and What Are the Seminary School Requirements?

What is seminary? It’s a common question for students of faith who are thinking about whether to make it their life’s work to heed biblical teachings and share them with others. Essentially, seminary (or a divinity school) is a theological, educational institution that offers biblical and theological instruction as well as spiritual and practical training in order to prepare students to serve in various positions within Christian ministry.

While you are a seminary student, you will study the way of Christ and learn how to interpret and apply biblical and theological principles to modern life within various ministerial contexts. At the same time, you will be equipped to cultivate Christ-like virtue in order to grow in godliness and depth of character.

The admission requirements for seminary vary, depending on the specific school you’re applying to. In general, you can expect to need to meet some minimum academic requirements. In addition, you’ll generally need to affirm your personal faith and your willingness to abide by the seminary’s faith-based code of conduct.

Should I Go to Seminary?

Only you can decide if earning your master’s in seminary is the right path for you. But before you can answer the question, Should I go to seminary? you need to first consider what exactly is drawing you to this path. You’ll need to spend plenty of time considering who you are as a person, the natural and spiritual gifts God has given you, the plans the Lord has for your life, and whether going to seminary will prepare you to minister to others in the unique ways you are called to serve.

Students who are weighing whether to go to seminary often know they want to be involved in their church community, but they may be unsure of the extent of their involvement. All Christians are called to actively engage in the life of their church community; there certainly aren’t any seminary school requirements for that. However, going to seminary can position you to pursue a in leadership or a specialized ministerial role within your community.

In addition to reflecting upon your answers to the questions that follow, spend some time thinking about the level of the involvement you desire within your church. Do you need training in order to step into a leadership role? Would you benefit from additional training or knowledge as you engage in other types of ministry, whether as a member of the staff or a volunteer?

Am I Passionate?

Do you have a desire in your heart to serve others? Do you want to strengthen your knowledge of biblical content and values? Would you like to potentially join church leadership?

If so, going to seminary may be a great choice. In your program, you will gain the biblical foundations necessary for a successful vocation in church leadership. Therefore, you will be prepared to go out into the world and make an impact for Christ.

Am I Ready To Invest in a Local Church?

No other environment offers the same opportunity to be in a community with fellow believers like the local church. Theological seminary encourages students to get involved with a local church and engage in mentoring relationships, supervised ministry requirements and internship experiences. These opportunities offer students the chance to grow both spiritually and professionally.

What Do I Want To Do After Seminary?

Before going to seminary, it can be helpful to know what you want to do after you earn your degree. For example, do you want to do nonprofit work, international missions or pastoral ministry?

Having an idea of the specific vocation you want to pursue after you graduate can help you to make the most of your education and tailor it to your interests. If you are still unsure about where God is leading you, pray about it and ask him to provide guidance. Ideally, it is always wise to seek counsel from others in your local church or ministry context who are willing to join you in seeking God’s will for your life and ministry.

Has God Called Me?

One of the most important things to consider before pursuing a seminary degree is if God has called on you. Ministry vocations require selfless sacrifice and dedication as you allow God to work through your life. Pray and ask God for guidance if it is his will. If God has placed the passion in your heart, trust him as you take the next step of faith and earn your seminary degree.

What Is Seminary School Like?

Even after praying about your decision and considering whether God has called upon you to earn your master’s in seminary, you might not be fully ready to make your decision. It can be helpful to explore answers to the common question, What is seminary like?

There is a misconception that some people may have that seminary is much like a monastic retreat, where individuals of faith spend all day praying and reflecting upon God’s teachings. In fact, seminary is a flurry of activity. Yes, there is a need for continual prayer and quiet reflection, but you’ll also be immersed in a learning-centered environment that will prepare you well to go share biblical truth with others and to engage the world with the love of Christ.

What Kind of Theology Degree Do I Want to Earn?

Grand Canyon Theological Seminary at GCU offers a variety of graduate degree programs. Consider the following degrees and the paths you can take to serve God in his ministry.

Master of Divinity (MDiv)

Grand Canyon Theological Seminary offers the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree via online and in-person classes. This program is designed to develop students’ Christian character and values while teaching the core doctrines of our faith. You will explore biblical interpretation and the application of biblical principles while you develop a strong sense of what it means to be a servant leader in the way of Jesus within various ministry settings.

Master of Arts in Youth and Family Ministry

Christian youths and families can benefit from transformative ministry that equips them to tackle the many challenges of modern life. You can prepare to serve youths and families by earning your Master of Arts in Youth and Family Ministry degree. You will learn foundational biblical principles and apply them in guiding youth and their families, including biblical teachings within specific contexts and ministerial ethics while helping young men and women mature in the Lord. 

Master of Arts in Christian Leadership

The Master of Arts in Christian Leadership degree will enable you to prepare for leadership positions within church communities. As you progress through your coursework, you will experience personal, spiritual and professional growth. You’ll study timely topics such as leadership through crisis, conflict and change, practical theology, biblical foundations of leadership and ministerial ethics. 

Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree program teaches you valuable skills and knowledge such as pastoral care, biblical interpretation and ministerial ethics. You will find encouragement in improving your skills in Christ-like ministerial service. Some of the many topics you’ll study include: 

  • Pastoral care within the context of the ministry 
  • Practical guidance for leading and organizing ministries
  • Effective communication strategies for the modern ministry
  • Biblical principles and fundamental knowledge of the Old and New Testaments
  • Professional ethics within the ministerial context

Master of Arts in Urban Ministry

If you want to serve people in urban communities, then a Master of Arts in Urban Ministry could be right for you. The program helps to examine at-risk communities and how to bring meaningful change to the people who live there. Notably, this degree program emphasizes the need to make the Word of Christ both accessible and contextually fitting for modern urban residents. 

While working toward this seminary degree program, you will study topics such as:

  • Competencies for the ministry in multicultural contexts, with a look at social services, community building and holistic ministry strategies 
  • The mission of the church within urban settings 
  • Ethical decision-making within the urban ministry community 
  • Ministerial ethics, including an exploration of personal morality, character development and self-care

The College of Theology at GCU exists to educate students to communicate the gospel effectively, serve the church faithfully and minister with integrity at home and abroad. To learn more about the degrees available at Grand Canyon Theological Seminary, including the Master of Divinity degree, fill out the form at the top of the page. 

Approved by the dean of the College of Theology on April 21, 2023.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.