Yesterday I was chatting with someone (this is me being discreet) and the topic of support came up. Mainly support for full-time students who wish (some would prefer ‘are called’) to pursue theological training/ studies. That person said to me that, generally, support for the student was scarce because people who wants to support must be sure that their money would not be used in vain. Thus many do want to help, it’s just, they want the right person to help.
Thinking through, I do see the point of seeing ones funds being handled out properly. I see accountability as a necessity and vitally important. Who wouldn’t be fuming if they see those in whom they support squander finances that were meant for a good purpose to go down the drain.
But I have to disagree with the point of view that a lot of people with hold finances because they want to know that their finances are used to the best of interest. For starters how would they know their money is put into good use if they do not let it go first, if they do not gamble. You can’t know the potential of a student if you don’t start the ball rolling.
But another thing has to be noted. In theological training it is not the issue of mere academics alone that is deemed important. Character counts. I mean not all who go through theological training has the brains to read and critique to a certain extent academic arguments of scholars. And their grades will account for this. But does this mean that financial support for this student deemed wasted? What if this person had tried his best but he or she simply finds it hard to argue stuff in an academic manner? Gifts after all is not wholly embedded in one person.
And it seems like most supporters or sponsors is more likely to be dictators of those in whom they support and this is in a way unhealthy and bad. I do not discount the fact that students should be accountable. They should be accountable. But those supporting should see their roles not as dictators but those who are going the second mile together with the person they are supporting.
I have to state that I’m not against supporters and sponsors. Without them there would not be any student in seminary or doing their studies. It’s just that I would wish some knew the struggles that goes in the lives of students.