Gospel Coalition had an excellent post today on Why Go to Seminary? I would have left a comment but, alas, I'm either banned or Chrome is just acting up (likely the former - dang, I need to stop being so snarky in my comments, I know that's wrong.) But I love everything about this post: the three or so readers of this blog know that I really do NOT like the idea of "lay elders" or "hobbyist preachers" or "tent-making elders", as I think it's ultimately starving the flock by having it led by a novice. There are rare exceptions, sure, but not everyone is a Spurgeon...
There's much I enjoy, but I thought this was a particularly good point about the topic of friends built at seminary, something that the lay-elder can't really benefit from (or even, for that fact, the lone wolf online student, unless they are very lively in online chats and discussions, but not sure how far you'd be able to get with that.) Here's a quote that's right on:
Good seminaries strengthen the unity between churches by building bonds between ministers. The friendships you build while you're in seminary will strengthen your ministry for years to come. The guy who sits next to you in 8 a.m. Hebrew class may someday lead his church to support your missionaries. The couple you meet at orientation may pray for you and your family for the rest of your life. The classmate you study with for a final may someday labor beside you for reformation in your denomination. So go to seminary, devote yourself to reading, and learn all you can from your professors. But don't fail to invest time in relationships while you're there.
All around Houston, there are plenty of novice pastors who need to be reading this TGC post.