More Practical Responses to the Most Common Requests from Young Seminarians: Struggling with Sin, Shepherding One’s Family, and Doing Ministry

Today, I finish my suggestions in response to some of the most common requests I get from seminarians. I pray these ideas have been helpful to you.

  1. “I’m struggling with ____________.” Many of these young people are quite willing to talk about their sin issues with someone they trust, but they still struggle.


    • Decide if you’re committed enough to take drastic steps to overcome your battle, to figuratively “cut off your arm or gouge out your eyes” (Matt 5:28-29) to find victory.
    • Talk with your pastor or another trusted church leader about your struggle. Keeping it in the darkness is no way to find victory.
    • Daily ask God to bring you to the place where you genuinely hate your sin.
    • If those who know you best encourage you to talk with a Christian counselor, be willing to do so.
  1. “Can you talk to me about how to shepherd my family?” Sometimes, this question ultimately gets to, “I really need to grow still as a husband. Help me know how to care for my wife like I should.”


    • Read a resource on marriage like Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage, Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage, or Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s Moments Together for Couples.
    • Find someone whose family life grabs your attention positively, and have a conversation with him. Ask him how he shepherds his family.
    • Make sure that, at a minimum, you pray with your spouse and your children every day. Don’t assume that your kids outgrow this need.
    • Consider using some of Tom Elliff’s questions for your spouse and for your children as a means to learn from them and guide them well.
  1. “What if I want to preach and teach, but the rest of ministry scares me?” Frankly, I understand this fear and want to help young leaders from my own experiences.


    • Don’t be worried that you feel this way. At some level, ministry ought to bring some trepidation. You’re dealing with souls.
    • Keep seeking a ministry mentor who will meet with you on a regular basis. Given our access to the internet, don’t assume that your mentor must live in your area.
    • Get some training in the areas of ministry that most frighten you. I’d be happy to connect with you through this website if you want some seminary training.
    • Just keep doing ministry. Sometimes, experience helps alleviate today’s fears.

What would you add to this list?



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