This is a post I wrote in August of 2013. I felt like it would be worth reposting again this August!
I will never forget the pressure I felt as I drove to Louisville, KY 3 years ago in August. We did not yet have jobs there, but we did have bills! Seminarians from your church are getting ready for the semester to start back up, so here are a few ways to bless them financially this month.
1. Write a Check
Simply enough a check may be exactly what the seminarian you know needs. I remember the days of working a full time job, keeping two additional part-time jobs (an internship and an ambassador program) on campus, and taking a full load of classes. Plus my wife was working and taking classes. On top of that, things still got tight around bill time. When we first moved to seminary, someone had payed three months of rent for us. We still do not know who did it, but we remain grateful even now for the way that donor blessed us. Later, my home church, FBC Boaz, helped with my tuition on a regular basis. I am forever grateful for the way those people invested in our future. Consider the financial demands of the seminarian you know and give money as the Lord leads.
2. Give Study Time
I am very productive when I go to a coffee shop. I am not sure why, but there’s something about sitting in the middle of a lot of people with my headphones in that gets my creative juices flowing (www.coffitivity.com says that research shows that coffee shop ambiance boosts creativity, so they’ve recreated it). Why not find out where your seminarian likes to grab coffee and buy them a gift card? 10 dollars is enough for 2-3 trips, or you could go all out and buy them one that would cover once a week for a semester. With unending hours of studying ahead of them, a coffee shop gift card could be a great help for them.
3. Give Books
After rent, tuition, bills, and more are paid, the first day of class begins. Then, after the syllabi are passed out, they will head to the bookstore to purchase books for that semester. If taking a full load, they could easily pay $200-500 for a semester’s worth of books. If they are at a SBC school, then a LifeWay gift card would allow them to buy books on campus. However, you can never go wrong with a gift card to Amazon.com. Even if you only give enough to cover one book, you are showing your love and care for their current wellbeing and future ministry!
4. Give a Date Night
If the seminarian you know is married, then a nice date night may seem unreachable for them. Extra money for a nice dining experience is often hard to come by. Why not access a site like www.urbanspoon.com and find a well-rated restaurant in the city they live in so you can give them a gift card for a great date night experience. Seminary can be stressful, so a night at a nice restaurant would be a welcome respite for a seminary couple.
5. Give a Blessing to His Wife
Seminary wives are unsung heroes. They do without a lot to ensure that their husbands are able to study for the ministry. They sacrifice a lot to help their husbands get through seminary. Perhaps, if you know her well enough, you could give her a gift card to a clothing store or a boutique. Maybe a spa day. Maybe something else, but you get the idea. Wives are often just as stressed out as their husbands at seminary, so blessing them is very important.
Maybe you have another idea for a way to financially bless a seminarian this month. Leave a comment on this blog if you do! Most importantly, though, it is important to remind those who are studying and preparing to lead Christ’s church that you love them and support them in their vocation! In addition to your prayers, even a small financial gift could go leaps and bounds in encouraging the seminarian you know!