/ Nathan Eshelman

In God's Timing: Encouragement for Seminary Students

Students for the ministry are often ready to go before they're ready to go. Students are, at times, discouraged by the slowness of the presbyterian process, the long seminary experience, and that endless season called candidacy. You are not alone.

When I was entering seminary--which seems like 5 minutes ago as well as ages ago--I too was anxious to get into the ministry. Recently I found within my files (I am an archivist not a hoarder!) a letter written by one of my elders to encourage me following a presbytery meeting where the candidates committee had to adjust their report, leading to my exams being bumped.

Here is the letter. I pray that it will prove to be an encouragement to other young men who are discouraged by the slowness of the process. And it can be s-l-o-w.

My elder wrote:

"Brother Nate:

Oftentimes, God is gracious to all of us to learn very difficult lessons through witnessing the hardships of others. I think you have been spared the disappointment that often occurs when the process is pushed ahead of schedule. The examples we saw (____ and _____) were very preventable and the leadership was mostly at fault or responsible. The old saying that “fools rush in” comes to mind. I pray you will observe the value of due process, both in your choice of seminary and in your future candidacy for the ministry. Your preparation and the presentation of your examination sermon is very important. With good preparation and giving the Holy Spirit freedom in your preaching, you will do well! As you saw today, the comments flow out of the initial responses of the presbyters <sic>. I write this as an encouragement to you because I know you were shook <sic> up a bit by how these things were handled.

Wasn’t it a beautiful thing to observe the restoration of Brother _____? So then, don’t despair of the time these processes take. You can’t microwave seeds for 45 seconds and expect plants to emerge. So pray for God’s blessing on the steps proceeding... and for your candidacy and seminary education.

God will bless in due course.

Your brother in Christ,

Nathan Eshelman

Nathan Eshelman

Pastor in Orlando, studied at Puritan Reformed Theological & Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminaries. One of the chambermen on the podcast The Jerusalem Chamber. Married to Lydia with 5 children.

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