Growing Seminaries

Nearly every regular reader of this blog is well aware that American Christianity has been in decline for many years.  Given this reality one would expect that seminary enrollment would also be declining since this schooling is often required of those seeking ordination (and in traditions where such advanced degrees are not required they have long been an attractive and helpful professional credential).  According to a new report from the Association of Theological Schools, more than 1 in 3 Read More …

A Progressive Seminary First

Recently I wrote about the changes made by the Association of Theological Schools that allows seminaries to offer accredited Master of Divinity degrees comprised of coursework that can be completed 100% online.  Chicago Theological Seminary is now marketing that they are "the only progressive seminary to offer an accredited MDiv completely online." So What? For the future of seminary education to change as a result of going online, such an education must be available for would be students Read More …

Fully Online Seminary Education

During the first 10 years of the 21st century, the number of students in higher education taking at least one online course nearly tripled (for more, check out "The Rise of Online Higher Ed").  There was also considerable growth in the number of fully online students. Just as the church tends to change more slowly than the culture at large, seminary education seems to shift more slowly than higher education in general.  Like most pastors, I attended seminary in an era when online education Read More …

Life After Seminary

For generations, seminaries were primarily designed to train people for pastoral ministry. Today, less than half of all graduates of the typical seminary degree for pastors (master of divinity) plan to engage in full-time church ministry. According to the Association of Theological Schools the shift has taken place in just a few decades.  At that time, over 90% of students planned to enter full-time church ministry.  The percentage has declined ever since, reaching 52% by 2001 and now Read More …

A Survey About my Theological Studies

Yesterday I received an e-mail request to complete an Alumni Survey.  The survey, sent by the university from which I received my doctoral degree, is a standard instrument provided by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).  The survey included a significant number of questions related to the usefulness of coursework for my current position and my overall experience.   Since I now work full-time in higher education, I found many of the questions intriguing, especially those about theology Read More …

Seminary President Discounts Online Theological Education

Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently made remarks that counter conventional wisdom and practice in theological education.  Tammi Ledbetter, writing for the Southern Baptist Texan, reports: Patterson’s definition of theological education is to expose students “to great men and women of God, to their lives, their homes, their habits and their commitments,” a process that requires sacrificing the comforts of home. If it were nothing more than acquiring Read More …