Do Seminaries Have a Role in Helping a Student Discern His Call to Ministry?
Tabletalk: Do seminaries have a role in helping a student discern his call to ministry, or is this something reserved exclusively for the local church? Why or why not?
Ligon Duncan: Both the seminary and the local church have a role to play in helping students discern a call to ministry. Ideally, a local church has already seen gifts and potential in a student before he comes to seminary. But the seminary should confirm that gifting and hone his sense of specificity in that call. While at seminary, the student usually discovers and develops his gift of preaching and teaching, as well as other aspects essential to the ministry. Is he best suited to be a solo pastor, an assistant pastor, or an associate pastor? A campus minister, church planter, counselor, or missionary? Could he lead a multi-staff church? Is there a demographic or location or constituency that he is better suited to serve? All of these questions usually become clearer in seminary under the advice, counsel, and mentoring of pastor-professors who are discipling the student.