Future ministers do not (and usually cannot afford to) pay more than a fraction of the cost of their education. Virtually every training institution that prepares pastors and missionaries has to underwrite most of the cost of their training. In the case of denominational seminaries, the denomination typically picks up a hefty chunk of the tab. Independent seminaries cannot rely upon the largesse of a denomination. They have to appeal to donors to make up the difference.
Even with substantial financial assistance, seminary students still struggle. Most small schools cannot afford to pay their students a stipend, and most students are married. Many have children. These men must work, often full-time, simply to pay for the normal expenses of life. They try very hard not to fall behind in their bills because debt is one of the major hindrances to effective ministry. A man who has accumulated significant debt must work for his creditors before he will be free to work for the Lord. Finishing seminary often takes all the determination that a man can muster.
For that reason, schools such as Central Seminary try to keep tuition as low as possible. Students do pay something for their education, but the bulk of the cost is borne by generous Christians who understand the need for an educated ministry. These committed believers know that someday their church will need another pastor, and they would like him to be as biblically informed and doctrinally acute as possible. They have the vision to understand that their support of a good seminary is actually an investment in the pastors and missionaries of tomorrow.
Occasionally an opportunity arises in which the effects of each person’s giving can be multiplied. One of those opportunities is coming next week. It is called “Give to the Max Day,” and it is a concentrated effort on the part of Minnesota non-profits to raise as much money as possible online within a single twenty-four hour day.
“Give to the Max Day” is sponsored by philanthropists who want to see charitable organizations flourish in Minnesota. They are interested in charities of all sorts, not just seminaries or even Christian organizations. But they allow Christian organizations such as Central Seminary to participate, and they offer incentives to charitable organizations to enjoy a special fund-raising effort during the day.
This year’s “Give to the Max Day” is Friday, November 14, from midnight to midnight. Central Seminary is participating in the day. Staff and faculty members invite you to join them as they contribute to the seminary. Every dollar from every donor helps.
Givers have a special incentive for this “Give to the Max Day.” A generous individual has committed to match every dollar given to Central Seminary, up to $25,000. Every dollar turns into two. Fifty turns into one hundred. Matching gifts like this do not come along every day, and the students and personnel of Central Seminary are excited to see how the Lord will lead his people to meet the challenge.
Central Seminary is careful with every dollar that is given. We practice strict financial discipline and accountability. We cut expenses to the bone. We balance the budget. We have an outside auditor review our books every year. Our goal is to make sure that every penny is used in the wisest way for the preparation of future Christian leaders.
Participation in "Give to the Max Day" is easy. Remember that “Give to the Max Day” is about using your computer to give. If you want to make a donation to Central Seminary, just point your browser to www.centralseminary.edu/give and follow the links (it is also possible to give to WCTS radio at www.wctsradio.com/give). You can do your giving on November 14, or you can log on ahead of time and enter a gift that will be activated on “Give to the Max Day.” If for some reason you are not able to use a computer to give, you can call the seminary office for help. The number is 763.417.8250.
“Give to the Max Day” offers an unusual opportunity. The first $25,000 to be given will automatically double. The day also offers other incentives for participation—incentives that have brought Central Seminary thousands of dollars in the past.
Every dollar raised on “Give to the Max Day” helps Central Seminary keep tuition low for seminary students. Low tuition payments help seminary students to care well for their families. Furthermore, low tuition delivers them from having to go into debt for their education. Your gift on “Give to the Max Day” is an investment in sound church leadership for the next generation.
Central Seminary has just finished a phenomenal academic year. As the new school year has begun, we have already begun to receive many blessings (such as the reaffirmation of our accreditation). We are excited at what God has done and energized to go forward. Would you consider helping Central Seminary on “Give to the Max Day”?
This essay is by Kevin T. Bauder, Research Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every one of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.
from A Method for Prayer
Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
Teach thy ministers how they ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, that they may not preach themselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and may study to show themselves approved to God, workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Make them mighty in the scriptures, that from thence they may be thoroughly furnished for every good work; in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, and sincerity, and sound speech, which cannot be condemned.
Enable them to give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine, to meditate upon these things, to give themselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word, to give themselves wholly to them; and to continue in them, that they may both save themselves and those that here them.
Let utterance be given to them that they may open their mouths boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, that thereof they may speak, as they ought to speak: as able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; and let them obtain mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
Let the arms of their hands be made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; and let them be full of power by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, to show thy people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins.
Make them sound in the faith, and enable them always to speak the things which become sound doctrine, with meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; and let not the servants of the Lord strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach.
Make them good examples to the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity; and let them be clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, and let Holiness to the Lord be written upon their foreheads.
Lord, grant that they may not labour in vain; or spend their strength for nought, and in vain, but let the hand of the Lord be with them, that many may believe, and turn to the Lord.