I spoke last night to a new seminary student here at BJU. He just arrived from another undergraduate institution. I looked through his eyes at the choices he is about to make—especially about church attendance—and I trembled a bit.
A word to him: You are the product of your influences. Go to Bob Jones Seminary, listen hard, and you’ll preach a certain way. Go to Bob Jones Seminary, invest yourself in one local church during your time in school, and you’ll preach a somewhat different way than the guy next to you in Soteriology who attends another church. As my pastor says, “Good preaching is caught as much as taught.”
Seminary is your time of preparation, so choose a church on that basis. What you learn you will carry with you to the ends of the earth. So don’t fear to ask what a church will do for you rather than what you will do for it. If you have the right heart, you will serve your church! You can’t help but do so! And ultimately you will better serve those you pastor in the future.
You don’t know the force of sustained scriptural exposition unless you experience it, and most of us didn’t get that growing up. You may miss out on the key formative influence you should be receiving if you go right away to a little country church that’s crying for help. If you let need drive you, you wouldn’t be in seminary in the first place.
Have a little humility. Continue the learning process by choosing a church based on the quality of the preaching ministry—a ministry you will feed on now and feed to others later.