Going into debt to go into the ministry

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Jacob Gastrich, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. Jacob Gastrich

    Jacob Gastrich
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    This like some of the other topics I have posted (single Pastors, 2nd Baptism) is another controversial issue that will not be decided until the return of Christ. I have spoken with some pastors about this issue and they all have their own view. Some are anti debt, some are okay with debts, and even others say debt is a personnel issue and some may need more than others. Some can stay free of it, and others cannot.

    As I prepare to go to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary next year, it looks like I will not be able to go unless I take on some loans. I have tried to save. But unfortanately my income is lacking and good paying jobs that will allow me to save are hard to find for people that lack certain skills here. However in the state of Kentucky living costs are low, and a income like mine would allow me to save, which where I live just barley pays the bills.

    I spoke with the senior pastor at this Baptist church that requires non KJVO people to get Baptized in their church, and he said that each persons situation is different. Some will need to take on debts, and others will not. He told me to do as the Lord Leads. And this from a ultra fundamentalist Baptist, and certainly more conservative than anyone at Southern.

    So what do you guys say? I am not trying to start a fight, just trying to get opinions as I am struggling on this issue. I think both anti debt, and pro debt people have good things to say.


    God bless,

    Jacob
     
  2. TaterTot

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    Well, I can only speak from personal experience. When we started seminary, we had just finished a term of service thru the North American Mission Board that had paid $15,000 a year. And we had been living on that. We went to seminary, and the Lord provided. We had to work hard and live on little. But we never took out a loan (but we did choose the deferred payment plan with no interest that our school offered).

    If God is calling you to go to seminary, He will provide for you.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    this has come up several times in the Seminary forum (I'd check there too.)

    My position on this is that debt isn't a sin.
    Debt isn't poor stewardship.
    Debt isn't bad...when properly managed.

    I have student loans from my undergraduate work but was able to make it through seminary without loans (couldn't do that today the place has changed.) Had the need arisen, I would have taken out loans without a second thought. Student loan debt is "good debt" since you can write off the interest and the payments will be low enough that it won't hamper your financial situation...besides you don't have to pay them back until you're done with school.

    Since, in ministry, you earning potential is severely limited by not having a seminary degree the small amount of loans you'll incur at an SBC seminary are a decent trade off for the possibility you will have once you graduate.

    Some considerations at least.
     
  4. El_Guero

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    Debt is debt . . .

    I do not think it is a sin. But, I do not recommend debt just to get debt.

    Yes, I have some seminary debt. I am not proud of it, just some conditions that I could not work around.

    The problem with debt - is that it stays with you for a very long time.
     
  5. Jacob Gastrich

    Jacob Gastrich
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    Thanks for the tips. Yeah in our day and age (especially in California) its hard to avoid debt.

    I think if I would have been born in KY, or some other state I could avoid debt, especially since rent for 2 bedrooms go under $500 in some states. However in California the cost of living in skyrocket. California is good for computer engineers, financial analyist and other highly skilled people. But a degree from a christian seminary means nothing in the real world. So instead I have to work in a retail store, which pays peanuts.


    Jacob
     
  6. Jacob Gastrich

    Jacob Gastrich
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    I'll be paying on my debts all my life (unless I get a good job). I'm already deep in the hole from my undergraduate ministry degree, so why not finish off my schooling to make me more marketable?

    Its the best thing to do.

     
  7. Jacob Gastrich

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    $15,000 a year is a living wage in some areas of the country. I think it all depends where you live. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area one cant live or even pay for room and board with such a salary. But in many other states one can live comfortable with $15,000 a year.
     
  8. LeBuick

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    $15K is tough no matter where you live. My Brother Pastors in SF so I know it is tough in that area but all things are possible when we seek first the Kingdom...
     
  9. Jacob Gastrich

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    Not exactly. There are plenty of places in the country where rent is dog cheap. I visited a couple in deep Alabamba. They had a nice 3-4 bedroom house and the husband was working and certainly making less than $15,000 a year and they were living okay. The couple had 2 children as well.


    Jacob
     
  10. Jacob Gastrich

    Jacob Gastrich
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    Also I forgot to add that if you travel up to deep Tehama county in California, you will find that one could easily do okay with only $15,000 a year or less.
     
  11. StefanM

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    15k wont get you any luxuries, but you could get by around where I live.
     
  12. Jacob Gastrich

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    Yeha you will have to drive that same old car, and you wont get anythign more than a room, but hey it works.
     
  13. Trotter

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    Don't worry... 99% of Baptist churches all agree to one thing:

    You keep 'im humble, Lord; we'll keep 'im poor.

    This has been a deterrent for me as well. I have enough bills right now, without adding more by taking on student loans in bible college/seminary. The other deterrent is motivation...

    I see no sin in taking on student loans to pay for a seminary education. While it isn't the best way, it can end up being the only way.

    A guy I used to go to church with went this route. As soon as he was called, he quit his job and took on student loans in order to go to school full time. His wife is a nurse, so they were able to make it. My family is a single-income family, though.
     
  14. LeBuick

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    Notice Tator said she was married at the time plus both were attending the Siminary. That's when the Bible says walk by faith and not by sight.

    If you can see your way you don't need faith.
     
  15. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Would you question going into debt to buy a home? Of course not.

    Debt is debt.

    Seminary is just like any other college. You may have to work two jobs, sling hamburgers or whatever, but if you have faith, and are in the center of God's will, He will see you through.

    If you need to take out a student loan, do it, but be expected to pay it back for a long time, thereby taking away from other things in your life.

    If anyone should have a good credit record, it should be God's children.

    Yes, you may have to drive "that old car", but I am driving one of those and I'm happy to say I have no car payments...

    I guess it depends on your priorities and what you think you 'need'?

    For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
    Mat 6:21
     
  16. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Are you planning to get rich in the ministry? Your sarcastic attitude toward those who are trying to keep you from creating a very long term hard life for yourself is very disheartening from somebody who says he wants to go into ministry. If you are not going to listen to those who are older, wiser, and whom are trying to help you, then why ask?

    For what it's worth, I also think you should look into every avenue before going into debt in the long term for seminary. I realize undergrad is over and done with, but you should do everything you can to keep your long-term debt at a minimum. Where God leads, he provides. When I attended Southwestern, they had a loan program that paid our tuition at the beginnning of the semester and we were expected to pay that loan back by the end of the semester. It was interest free and when the semester was over, so was that loan. We certainly did not make a lot of money working as a bus aid for a local school district and my wife working at a church preschool, but God provided for our needs. You might consider seeing if Southern has any programs that are similar to this to help you out.

    If living within your means and not having an extravegant lifestyle doesn't appeal to you, I would suggest you think about another line of work because I don't think you'll be very happy in the ministry.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  17. JamieinNH

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    Hiya Jacob,

    Where did you get your undergraduate from? Where do you plan on going to Seminary?


    Jamie
     
  18. Joseph_Botwinick

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    He is planning on going to Southern.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  19. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Jacob,

    Have you thought about applying for some associational grants or scholarships? That is another way God helped provide some money for me when I went to Southwestern.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  20. Brother Bob

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    Where the rent is cheaper so is the payday so it all works out no matter where you are. Only difference in living in Kentucky is that you can eat squirrel, possum and groundhog which will cut down on the fast foods bill.
     
    #20 Brother Bob, Aug 27, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2006

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