Reformed, Covenant, or Westminster
I'm 23 years old and just graduated from UF in Gainesville, FL with an electrical engineering degree. I've decided to go to seminary about 2 months ago. I am not married or have any children. I've led musical worship for 5 years, and I enjoy leading people to magnify the worth and the beauty of Jesus. I've also had some experience in preaching to the youth. I aspire to be a passionate, biblical, and people-loving pastor and scholar.
I've applied to Reformed in Orlando, Covenant in St. Louis, and Westminster in Philadelphia. I got accepted from Reformed and Covenant, but I'm still waiting for their reply for Westminster. I've talked to a lot of pastors, and I've gained some knowledge of these seminaries. I want to list the pros and cons for each school with my limited knowledge. But, I just want to know which seminary would be the best for me in my growth as a minister.
Reformed in Orlando
Pros: It's close to home. I may already have an internship position at a local church in Orlando to help pay for my tuition. I may have a place to stay for cheap. And, I know a lot of pastors who came out of this school. I'm going to be saving a lots of money if I go here. And, I will be very comfortable compared to other places.
Cons: Comfort may not be what I exactly need. I've been very sheltered my whole life. I've never worked in my life. I've always lived near my home. Some people are telling me that I should go outside of my comfort zone (Florida) and get different experience from other schools. And to be honest, I'm not exactly sure whether this school is more scholarly or more pastoral. So, please, inform me anything that you guys may know about.
Covenant in St. Louis
Pros: After doing an interview with them, I was fairly impressed. I don't know if they are just very good at advertising, but doing an interview with one of them really got me interested in their school. According to one of the faculties, they aren't just committed to teach information, but they are committed in the individual student's spiritual growth. They even mentioned that they keep the student accountable with things like sexual sins. They said that they are more about building pastors than scholars, which is what I think I need more of. I was fortunate enough to be taught the Reformed and systematic theology from my mentor when I was young. So, I'm not too concerned about growing as a scholar, but I'm more concerned about my growth as a pastor. I want to be mentored and learn how to live a disciplined and holy life. So, unless someone else can testify against this, Covenant seems to have what builds up a pastor.
Cons: They aren't giving me much financial support. I'm receiving about 20% scholarship, and I'm supposed to also make money to support my living expenses. Reformed has this 1/3 scholarship where if I get a support from a local church who's willing to pay up to 1/3 of my tuition, then Reformed pays 1/3 of my tuition as well. Covenant doesn't have any of that, and I'll be in the most financial difficulty out of the three schools I've mentioned.
Westminster in Philadelphia
Pros: I actually talked to a student who's in there right now. She told me that their school is very prestigious and academic, which is what I want. Being a scholar is something that is natural to me and I enjoy reading dead guys' books and writings. I also heard from her that they teach Greek and Hebrew to a higher standard because they make their students read their Bible in its original languages. So, I'm very interested in the fact that they build scholars.
Cons: Financially speaking, I'm not exactly sure what I'll be able to receive. But, my home church pastor is very supportive about me going to this school. So, I'm expecting some form of significant financial support. Also, because it's such an academic school, I'm also concerned whether they are able to build pastors with character. So, unless I'm not informed enough, I'm a bit worried that I may turn into a heady scholar who doesn't know how to deal with actual people.
So, this is what I have and know so far. After reading a bunch of threads in this forum, I've come across a lot of people who disliked Covenant, but I wasn't sure why people disliked it. Yes, there were links provided, but none of them worked for me. So, please, inform me anything that may be helpful in my decision.
Also, some people suggested that finance should be left for God to provide. But, I want to be realistic. Of course, I trust in the Lord with all of my life, but I believe I am called to do all that I can to receive enough funds to provide for the tuition and my living expenses, unless God gives me this undeniable calling to go to a certain place without financial consideration. I've grown up with a widowed mother and I do not wish to be a burden to her.
By the way, please, do not try to put another seminary in my consideration list. This list is final for me. No more applications.
Thanks in advance,