Why I Recommend One Year of Bible College

It’s a conversation I’ve had many times:

High Schooler: I don’t know what I should do when I finish high school. Maybe I should go to trade school or university.

Me: Have you considered attending a year of Bible college?

High Schooler: I don’t feel “called to ministry.” Wouldn’t that be like a waste of a year and of money?

Me: No, and here’s why.

(Actually, you can switch out several components of the conversation above—a parent talking about their child, a student who actually does know what she wants to do, or a student trying to discern if maybe he is called to ministry. But even with some of these variables, I often still recommend one year of Bible college for the same reasons.)

It helps a young person set a life’s direction. Most 18- to 20-year-olds haven’t settled on their life’s career yet. And very often, the ones who think they have often change their minds.

Taking one year after high school to attend Bible college puts them in a position where they are making themselves available for God to tap them for ministry. Bible college is an environment where students are surrounded by godly mentors, challenged with daily Bible preaching and teaching, and immersed in ministry opportunities. It all lends itself toward an awareness of the needs of the harvest while at the same time having a sensitive heart to God’s call.

But let’s say God doesn’t call a particular young person to ministry in that year of Bible college. (And God doesn’t call everyone to serve in a full-time ministry capacity.) Was that year a waste? No, because …

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Paul Chappell
Dr. Paul Chappell is the pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church and the president of West Coast Baptist College in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter @PaulChappell and find him on Facebook. He and his wife, Terrie, have written a new book on marriage, Are We There Yet? Marriage—an Imperfect Journey for Perfect Couples. For more information on this book or to order, visit AreWeThereYetBook.com.