Hospitality to Seminary Students

3 John 1:5-8

Posted by Chris Mullins on July 21, 2019
Hospitality to Seminary Students
Seminary Students at The Master's Seminary in Spokane listen to a lecture in their Biblical Counseling class. Photo by Seth Weber.
“Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” 
—3 John 5–8

One has only to read Jesus’ words to the seven churches of Revelation to see that those churches under the Apostle John’s authority were afflicted with false teachers, apathy, and persecution. Both true and false teachers were traveling among these churches, and so John wrote 2 & 3 John to address the issue of hospitality with regard to these teachers, some of whom were wolves in sheep’s clothing and some who were true shepherds of God’s flock. The letter of 2 John was written to warn a church not to extend hospitality to false teachers, whereas the letter of 3 John was written to encourage hospitality to true teachers. As John says above, showing hospitality—supporting these genuine teachers in their ministry—means that one is a fellow worker in their ministry.

As we have been talking about hospitality on Sunday mornings the last few weeks, we briefly explored how one of the foremost ways one can show the kind of hospitality that John is addressing in this passage is by connecting with and supporting missionaries. Opening one’s home and sharing life with these traveling ministers of the gospel is mutually encouraging and is a significant way to be a fellow worker in their ministries.

Student Life

Another exciting opportunity Faith Bible Church has to practice this kind of hospitality is through showing it to our resident seminary students. Since Fall of 2017, Faith Bible Church has had the blessing of housing the Spokane extension campus for The Master’s Seminary. This extension campus is providing an amazing opportunity for many men in the region to gain invaluable tools for ministry, an opportunity that they might not otherwise have. Some of our students have even moved into the area for the purpose of attending this extension campus. Our seminary students are in similar circumstances to those described by John to Gaius: men with their families going out for the sake of the name of Christ. We as a church have the opportunity to help them on their way and become fellow workers in their current and future ministries.

Seminary is an intense season of life. It is a season of 3 to 4 years of full-time graduate level schooling in the original biblical languages, theology, preaching, and the practice of pastoral ministry. I can personally attest to the incredible benefit of this rigorous training. While it is an incredible time of learning about God’s Word and the glories of Christ’s Kingdom, it is also a very stressful time. Many students already have ministry roles in their churches. In addition, most students must work part or full time to make ends meet. Sleep, money, and time always seem to be scarce, but the Lord provides in amazing ways!

You have an amazing opportunity to show hospitality to the seminary students attending classes here, even if they don’t attend FBC and even if they will only be around for a few years. As a seminary student, it is so encouraging to know that the church has your back, to know that the church knows that the training you are receiving is important and will, Lord-willing, benefit many souls into the future. As you show hospitality to a seminary student, you are participating as a fellow worker in their ministry.

As a seminary student, it is so encouraging to know that your church has your back.

How can you show hospitality to our seminary students? First, get to know them. Talk to the seminary students and their families. Have them over for dinner. Find out where they are thinking about serving in the future. Ask them what things they have been learning. Ask them how they are doing spiritually and how you can pray for them.

Next, ask them about their finances. No one likes to talk about money, but it is a very practical way to support a seminary student (though not the only way). Seminary is expensive, and the more a student has to work, the less time and brain power he has for his studies. Alleviating some of that stress can help a seminary student gain more from his classes and help him to get done and “into the field” more quickly.

Perhaps you don’t have the extra cash to help support a seminary student directly. Another way to help is by offering up items that you would otherwise donate or sell in a garage sale to our seminary students. Or, perhaps you have a particular skill or service that you could offer up to a seminary student or their family. Perhaps you have the opportunity to provide affordable housing or medical services or repair work. All of these things can be practical ways to support seminary students and their families as they train for future ministry. We have seen many seminary families blessed in these sorts of ways, and we ourselves have been blessed by many of you in these ways.

Speaking on behalf of the seminary students attending the TMS extension campus at Faith, our greatest desire is to be able to develop a relationship with you and to partner with you in ministry for the sake of the name of our great God and Savior. Thank you for your hospitality!

Chris Mullins

Chris Mullins is a 2020 graduate of The Master's Seminary Spokane with a Master's of Divinity. He and his wife, Ashley, serve at Faith Bible Church in Hood River, Oregon. 

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