9 Most Common Requests from Young Seminarians

As I’ve worked with seminary students for the last 24 years, I’ve taken note of the kinds of questions, requests, etc., they’ve had in my mentoring relationships with them. To help professors, pastors, and anyone else working with this generation, here are some of the most common requests:

  1. “Teach me to pray.” I hear this request much more than any other request regarding spiritual disciplines. This generation wants to pray, but they don’t know how.
  2. “Help me know how to balance my responsibilities.” They’re students, spouses, parents, employees, and church members—all at the same time. They want to learn how to live in a healthy balance.
  3. “Would you work with me to develop a budget?” I’m surprised by the number of young adults who don’t operate with a budget, don’t consider things like life insurance, and haven’t even thought about starting a retirement account at a young age.
  4. “I don’t know how to determine God’s will.” I think most of us overcomplicate this process (see this post), but the request is nonetheless a real one: these young leaders don’t want to make mistakes as they step out to follow God.
  5. “Please ask me hard questions about my life.” My generation didn’t think much about accountability, but this generation does. They welcome the right person digging into their lives to help them walk in godliness.
  6. “Tell me how you find time and space to do evangelism.” This one’s a hard one for me, because I, too, can easily get cocooned among believers. Knowing my students are already wrestling with the same issue pushes me to address it in my life.
  7. “I’m struggling with ____________.” Many of these young people are quite willing to talk about their sin issues with someone they trust. Too often, the battle is with pornography, though that’s not their only battle. Others talk openly about emotional struggles.
  8. “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.”
  9. “What if I want to preach and teach, but the rest of ministry scares me?” I fear this generation will retreat to their studies and do ministry only from the pulpit (that is, without walking beside people in the messiness of their lives), so I appreciate the honesty of this question. Frankly, I understand it and trust I can help them from my own experiences.

As much as anything, I look forward to praying with my students when we’ve talked—and I’ve learned that they deeply appreciate an older believer interceding for them. I pray that God will grant you opportunities today to invest in this generation. 

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