Frequently Asked Questions

HOW DO I GO FROM ACCEPTANCE TO MATRICULATION?

Now that you have been accepted and paid your $250 to hold your spot in the semester’s class, many students ask, “what next?” Here are some things that normally begin to happen until you sit in your first class:

You will begin to receive regular correspondence from TMS concerning what classes you can take, how to register for those classes, how to obtain your books & syllabi, information on housing and jobs through the TMS Weekly, and contact from your orientation leader.

For those moving from other countries, TMS will be the focal point for all your visa needs.

Many of you will be moving and we are here to assist you with determining places to live and help moving into your apartment or home.

One week before the start of the school year the seminary will host an orientation to help you make the adjustment to graduate level study, introduce you to other new students, and ensure that you are headed in the right direction as you begin the start of the academic year.

For those of you who are married, your wife will have the opportunity to meet other new wives and faculty wives at the dessert reception. In addition, we will provide an outlet to encourage and instruct her for her future ministry with you through the Seminary Wives Discipleship.

NEW STUDENT PREPARATION CHECKLIST

  • Have all items on my application been completed? (transcripts, updates)
  • Have I registered and loaded my shopping cart with approved classes?
  • Have I received a confirmation about my classes from Professor Mehringer?
  • Have I kept my Orientation Leader aware of my moving plans?
  • Have I informed the seminary of my new address and phone number?
  • Have I ensured my schedule is open for the week of Orientation?
  • Have I obtained the book list and begun the process of purchasing my books?
  • Have I downloaded my syllabi and reviewed the assignments?
  • Have I studied the English Refresher Booklet?
  • Have I received the TMS Weekly and the Grace Community Church Opportunity Sheet?

SHOULD I GO TO SEMINARY?

Most of us acknowledge that God has a plan for our lives. Knowing what it is can sometimes be more difficult. But it need not be. Simply put, if you are walking with the Lord and letting His Word dwell in you richly (Col 3:16), then you can do whatever you want! The decision is yours. That is what the psalmist says: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps 37:4). He will put His desires into your heart, giving you the right desires.

Let me suggest a few practical questions to help bring your desires into focus:

  • Do you have a desire to teach people God’s Word?
  • If married, is your wife supportive?
  • Does your pastor or people in your home church endorse your desires?
  • Has God opened a door for you to go to seminary?

If you can answer yes to these questions, then you need to consider The Master’s Seminary. As you will discover, TMS is an excellent place to be trained and sent out into ministry. You will experience first hand a seminary that is passionate about expository preaching and character development. You will receive counsel, encouragement, and instruction from the faculty—in the classroom, on the campus, or over lunch.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A SEMINARY?

With more than 250 seminaries in the United States, where do I begin? Do I decide based on location, cost, an institution’s past history, faculty publications, pastoral recommendations, the proliferation of degree programs, or housing options? How important is the study of languages? What about a seminary’s doctrinal statement? How will the professors impact my spiritual life and character? What about helping me find a ministry after I graduate?

These are just some of the questions you need to consider. To help you, we’ll be happy to send you a checklist of seventeen questions you can ask to assist you in your evaluation of the seminaries on your list. Choose carefully and prayerfully; where you train will determine what and how you teach!

WHAT ABOUT AFTER I GRADUATE?

The Placement Office works with many churches, schools, church plants, and mission agencies every year to assist graduates in finding a ministry that best fits their talents and abilities. We have done that with more than a thousand graduates who are now serving in 45 states and 40 countries.

Every fall and spring, we offer Placement Workshops to help students begin the process of preparing to go where God would have them serve. These workshops focus not only on simple things like completing a resume, but also on what to consider when interacting with a search committee and how to best weather the storms of adversity during your first few years in ministry. Alumni, missionaries, and military chaplains are invited onto campus with to inform students about various ministry possibilities. Historically, nearly 90% of our graduates who are pursuing ministry are placed within 6 months of graduation. And we will continue to serve you after graduation. Our electronic database of churches looking for a pastor is available to our alumni who desire to transition to another place of service.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE FOR MY WIFE?

We are committed to equipping your wife to serve along side you, while you are in school and in your future ministry. The Seminary Wives’ Discipleship program is an association of students’ wives, faculty wives, and the wives of Grace Church pastors and elders.

The purpose of the organization is to:

  • Enrich each wife’s devotion to God.
  • Enrich her marriage and family through study of the Word and profitable literature.
  • Enrich her personal development through small group discipleship, accountability, and support.
  • Equip her for future ministry alongside her husband by providing materials, resources, and practical training in women’s ministry.

Meetings are held each Wednesday for the first ten weeks during a semester. Baby-sitting is provided for pre-schoolers. Older children can attend AWANA, Jr. High or Sr. High programs. In typical meetings, time is devoted to each of the following:

  • Encouragement and motivation through a period of worship and devotion.
  • Instruction with regard to a particular skill.
  • Participation in a study of God’s Word and in discussion of a book relating to a topic of practical value for wives.
  • Mutual support in a period of prayer for one another; additional special activities are occasionally sponsored by the group.
  • As one of the Seminary Wives’ leaders, Mary Somerville, has said in her book, One with A Shepherd – The Tears and Triumphs of a Ministry Marriage:

“Perhaps you never dreamed of being a pastor’s wife and you were caught by surprise when your husband changed careers and entered ministry. Whether or not you see yourself as especially gifted or prepared for your role, God put you together with your husband intentionally and purposefully so you could partner with him, as your husband’s helper ‘suitable for him’ (Gen. 2:18). God gave you to your husband just as certainly as He gave Eve to Adam. You were given to him so as to uniquely help him perform the ministry to which God has called him.”

Apply all due diligence in your search for a seminary, but don’t forget your wife! She too needs to be prepared for her role as well. It was said of the great missionary team of Hudson and Maria Taylor, “Undoubtedly, the overriding factor in their marriage was an equal uninhibited loyalty to their vocation. Without Maria, Hudson never could have embarked on his life’s work.”

WHAT ABOUT HOUSING AND A JOB?

CNNMoney.com cites Los Angeles as one of the top 25 cities with the highest job growth and best job markets. Diverse in geography, recreation, culture, lifestyle and economic industry, California is a highly desirable location for all types of residents.

Most students who move to southern California at least one month before classes begin will find a job before school begins. We’ll assist you in the job search through our TMS Weekly, a four to five page information brief highlighting jobs, apartment rentals, items for sale and “give-aways.” It includes items provided by businesses that have developed a relationship with the seminary based on the excellent work done by previous students. Additional information comes from the 7,000 to 8,000 people who attend Grace Community Church who have businesses in the area or know of job opportunities.

This same type of networking is helpful when students are looking for a place to live. With some 39,000 apartments vacant in Southern California on any given day, the choice is usually made by cost and distance from the seminary. Most of the students are grouped in 15-20 complexes in the area, giving them close proximity to TMS connected study groups, babysitting prospects, and carpooling opportunities. In many cases, our students serve as apartment managers, greatly reducing the rent. Of course, when it comes time to move-in or move-out, students and staff are eager to help.

WHAT ABOUT A LIFE-ON-LIFE DISCIPLESHIP?

Discipleship at The Master’s Seminary is not just academic; it includes close relationships with faculty and other students. Each of these provides camaraderie, support and encouragement, both for you and for your wife, forging deep, life-long friendships. Over the course of the years, the students at TMS have adopted the theme as “The band of brothers—serving, shepherding, and sharpening one another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Serving, shepherding, and sharpening often occurs in co-curricular activities, such as Associated Student Body-sponsored monthly lunches with professors and fellow students, camping and hiking trips, short-term missions opportunities, the fall picnic, the early morning ASB prayer time, wives interacting with other wives in the Seminary Wives Discipleship program, and the annual Spring Banquet. It is here that life-time relationships are forged, each having been built on a high view of God and His Word and bonded with a common philosophy of ministry.

I’VE BEEN ACCEPTED; NOW WHAT?

Once you have been accepted, you’ll receive a call from a current student who has agreed to assist you in your transition to seminary. About a week before classes begin, new students spend several days in Orientation. Orientation is designed to assist you in meeting other new students, becoming acquainted with students that have completed their first year, and assimilating into the seminary life. In addition, the Vice President of Academic Administration will give you an overall perspective of seminary life, the Dean will welcome you over lunch, the Director of Admissions will challenge you to develop a vital spiritual life, and a theology professor will review ways to enhance your academic success. The Of course, the Admissions staff, together with the Orientation leaders, will ensure you are assisted during your move-in, will help you find housing, and will point you toward job opportunities that could work around your school hours.