The (Real) Challenge Facing Seminaries

A recent article detailed the declining interest among those called to ministry in the three-year Master of Divinity degree, long considered the quintessential degree for both ordination and vocational ministry. If a seminary education is even now pursued, it increasingly tends to be a two-year Master of Arts of some kind, typically focusing on leadership. According to a new projection from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), the number of seminary students enrolled in various Master of Arts degrees will likely exceed the number of Master of Divinity students by 2021.

But even with the turn to shorter degrees, seminaries are losing ground. They have been in decline, year by year, for more than a decade. Even when figures released by ATS in 2017 showed a leveling-off from that decline, it was because ATS admitted five new schools. Remove those five and the decline continues.

But what's the real reason for the gold standard seminary degree losing its luster? Why have seminaries been in a decade-long decline? Is there something going on beyond students not wanting to uproot or go in debt?

Yes, and it's time to speak about it openly and honestly. Click here to continue reading this post and to view the blog archive.

Daily Headline News

Museum of the Bible visitors top half a million in first six months

The Museum of the Bible, the newest tourist attraction near the National Mall, has drawn 565,000 visitors since it opened six months ago, according to museum figures released Thursday (May 17). (Banks, Religion News Service)

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The "indoor generation" and the health risks of spending more time inside

Over the course of the past 200 years, workers have migrated from workplaces like fields and farms to factories and offices. Instead of basking in natural sunlight, many people today are spending the majority of their time basking in the glow of some kind of screen, which puts us out of sync with natural circadian rhythms. (Walden, USA Today)

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Thoroughly modern Meghan

It shouldn't be up to Meghan—now the Duchess of Sussex, Countess of Dumbarton, and Baroness Kilkeel—to singlehandedly modernize an institution that's doggedly resisted change since its inception. And yet here was the House of Windsor witnessing a revolution, whether it wanted to or not. (Gilbert, The Atlantic)

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The radical self-reliance of black homeschooling

Some black parents see teaching their own children as a way of protecting them from the racial disparities of the American education system. (Anderson, The Atlantic)

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The Importance of Self-Understanding

Self-understanding is the reason we want to know our Myers-Briggs, our StrengthsFinder and more. Few things have captivated our attention more of late, and taken us deeper into ourselves, than the Enneagram. But is it biblical? And if it is, what does it hold for our lives? This provocative new series from James Emery White delves into how to know ourselves, the signature strengths and sins that come with who we are, and how this all ties into the way that we relate to others. It's appropriately titled, "Finding Your Way to You: The Bible, The Enneagram and Self-Understanding."

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