Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with preparation. --Thomas Edison

When I graduated from high school, the employer’s mantra was, “experience required.” I and my friends would often lament, “How are we to get the experience, if no one will give it to us?”

As with everything else, the times have changed and so has what employers require.

These days most students, especially young men, will find out that a college degree is a must-have in order to gain the most benefit from a career choice. Not to say that life-experience counts for nothing, many colleges will take a sharp look at the temporary jobs, clubs, sports and any community involvement a student has. My friend, Mavis Koon, wisely said, “God does not waste anything that you experience or go through, that includes education.”

Even in this politically correct world there really are some differences in what is expected in the life goals for each of the sexes.

A young man needs to take his future into consideration as to earning potential in order to be the major bread-winner for a family. His degree, or lack there-of, will undoubtedly effect such things as what type of job, or ministry, he may decide to embark on. With this vision of his future rolling around in his head he needs to consider how this choice of “degree or no degree”will effect his pay scale and the stepping stones to a better paying job via promotions.

A young woman may want to decide how serious she is about a future in the job market. Is this something she wants to do as a life-long career? Is this something she wants to do to help her husband, financially, for the first few years of marriage, until they buy their first home, or until they start a family? Young women may also want to consider how a college or tech school choice might help in managing a home.

Many careers can be useful in home life. Accounting and bookkeeping are of major use in. Nursing and hair design skills will benefit the whole family their whole lives. Connie Robertson reminds us that we never know what the future holds. “We don’t know if God has a husband for our daughter. And if He does, they may not meet until they’re 30.”A young woman certainly needs to earn a living in the meantime.

University or Community College?

Many factors other than career choice go into choosing the type of higher education one needs or desires.

One decision is your choice of a major, others are cost and location. Are you a resident of that state? That county? Are you taking courses on-line? How will all this effect your choices? How will this effect your costs?

There seems to be a trend for some to attend a community college for their first two years. In going this route, many students have decided that they can still live at home and enjoy the support, encouragement and protection of the family while they are in the emotional transition between the teen years and adult-hood.

While enjoying the support of home for one or two more years, they may also work off some of the general requirements in the community college setting while saving money to finish and acquire their formal degree at a major university.

This course would allow a student who is having trouble declaring a major a little more time to decide. Many students may appreciate the opportunity to gain a little more life experience and having the time to listen to the experience of older friends who are in college ahead of them. What are they finding are necessary steps? What are they finding are foolish or unnecessary steps?

Benefits for Ministry

Any pastor who takes his leadership path seriously needs to take much care in their choice of higher education. Many decided to attend seminaries specifically backed by their chosen denomination.

When asked about a specific benefit higher education had in his choice as a pastor, Rev. Thomas H. Sager of New Hope Community Church (C&MA) said, “College shocked me out of my narrow-mindedness.” He went on to explain that higher education, for the student thinking of ministry as a vocation, gives exposure to other world-views. By associating with others of differing backgrounds, one may better understand other perspectives and the reasons others make the choices they make. This will greatly benefit ministry students when they become pastors, in that a modern-day pastor does much more than sermonize on Sunday mornings. The modern pastor is much in need of relational skills and reasoning skills when counseling, as well as research skills and acquired knowledge of any topic he must discuss or teach on.

Rev. Sager also believes, “When preparing for ministry at the graduate level, the choice of seminary [and] the theology of your seminary are vitally important.”

Wrapping it Up

Was Mavis Koon correct when she said, “God does not waste anything that you experience or go through, that includes education?” Yes, I believe she was. However, when anticipating your life’s career, take serious consideration regarding your higher education.

No longer is the employer’s mantra, “experience required.” It is now, “education required.”

A college degree affects your future. It affects and influences pay scale, possible promotions, and can be the stepping stone to a more fulfilling, better paying position.



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