The Least Educated Americans: Christians

A few weeks ago the Pew Research Center published a detailed chart showing a nation by nation breakdown of the educational attainment of those identified with select world religions. United States In the United States, the average educational attainment of all adults aged 25 and older was 12.9 years. In rank order by average educational attainment in number of years the report shows:  Hindus - 15.7  Jews - 14.7  Muslims - 13.6  Buddhists - 13.4  Christians - 12.6 Note: Read More …

Leaving Parish Ministry

For the last fifteen years I have served in a variety of parish based ministry positions in Mainline Protestant congregations ranging in size from a few hundred to a few thousand.  My job titles have included Director of Ministries with Children and Families Youth Director (and Youth Minister) Associate Pastor Interim Senior Pastor Transitional Pastor Director of Education (and Director of Adult Education). The job title I have held the greatest number of times is Director of Read More …

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 …

Education Level & Declining Church Attendance

As I read W. Bradford Wilcox's recent Acts of Faith article in the Washington Post I found myself drawn to a graph illustrating a decline in church attendance.  While the decline in American church attendance in America since the mid-1970s is well documented and much discussed by lay religious folks and scholars alike, few have given any real consideration to how the rate of decline differs based on education. A few years ago I shared W. Bradford Wilcox's finding that "since the 1970s, white Read More …

Marketing Adult Ministries

Last week the fourth annual Naples United Church of Christ Adult Enrichment brochure was published.  While this booklet is shared with around 1,000 households by old fashioned postal mail in a single mailing, the electronic version is shared with an even larger audience over a much longer time period. History Like most newer initiatives in an established congregation, this marketing piece has developed over the years. A basic timeline: 2012 - a simple booklet offering information about Read More …

Education & Low Wage Work

It is a widely held assumption that higher levels of education are associated with higher paying jobs.  This data has long been used to argue for the vale of higher education. A  new study by the Economic Policy Institute finds that low-wage workers (those in the bottom 20% of income) have far more education now than they once did.  More specifically, the percent of low-wage workers with varying levels of educational attainment has shifted a great deal from 1968 to 2012, including percent Read More …

College Educated 20-Somethings

While it is widely known that more young people are attending and graduating from college than ever before in the United States, many people are less familiar with just how dramatic the change is for those in the 25-29 year old cohort. In a recent New York Times' article, Catherine Rampell notes that the National Center for Education Statistics data shows that the percent of 25-29 year olds with a bachelor's degree or higher rose more rapidly over the last two decades than in the previous Read More …

Child Sponsorship Works

Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, recently published study findings that show that child sponsorship works.  The academic paper appears in the current edition of the Journal of Political Economy.  Wydick provided an overview of the material for a lay audience in the June 2013 edition of Christianity Today (p.20-25). Based on research done using a grant from USAID to analyze the impact of child sponsorship programs in six Read More …

Every Kid Needs a Champion

In recent years Rita Pierson has drawn on over four decades of educational experiences to conduct professional development workshops and seminars for thousands of educators.  A former teacher (elementary, junior high, and special education), testing coordinator and assistant principal, Pierson believes that every kid needs a champion. Watch her recent 8 minute long TED talk on the topic now. So What? In this talk, Pierson challenges her listeners to rethink their roles in the lives Read More …

Educational Debt – BS

When I initially encountered Greg Henson and David Pohlmeier's  new infographic on what incoming seminary students bring with them, I found myself gravitating toward the financial data.  The data used to generate the graphic comes from surveys completed by 6,900 incoming students at 161 ATS schools during the 2011-2012 school year.  Among the findings: 51% of all incoming students enter seminary with educational debt (the image at right shows the debt load of those who enter seminary with Read More …