Have they been where you will go?
You’ll need study under someone who knows ministry well. Because it’s one thing to lecture on a theory and quite another to teach from a background in real-life church ministry, make sure you attend a school with Bible faculty who are currently pastoring or honorably retired from years in the ministry. They will do much more than teach you—they will shape your perspective and pass along what they learned from a lifetime of ministry.
Do they pursue relationships with students after graduation?
Good teachers invest themselves in their students. Their concern goes beyond today’s class and tomorrow’s lecture. A teacher with a heart for the ministry will continue to communicate with a student after graduation. You’ll need those kinds of relationships as you complete your training and become a pastor.
Do they share your passion and commitment?
I can’t think of anything more depressing or discouraging than studying for the ministry with peers who are undisciplined, apathetic or carnal. Make sure the spiritual pulse of the student body is alive and genuine. It’s quite possible that a godly fellow student may become a complement and an encouragement to you in your future work.
Are there opportunities to practice what you’re learning?
Consider a school that encourages you to soak up knowledge as you study and then share what you’ve learned for the benefit of others. Your college should give you several ministry opportunities from which to choose.
To find the answers to these questions, you may need to visit the college or university you are considering attending—or at a minimum, have several in-depth conversations with an admissions counselor. Also, talk to your parents and your pastor. Remember, the God Who has called you into ministry has just the right place for you to be trained.