LifeWay research recently had the following to say about how today’s pastors view seminary:
“Only 10 percent of Protestant pastors say they would require a candidate to have a seminary degree and instead place emphasis on other qualifications, such as experience and beliefs” (read more about the study)
For someone in seminary, like me, this is a pretty discouraging statistic. Yet in the same study LifeWay also had this to report:
“Among the surveyed pastors, 85 percent say they have taken seminary classes, and 96 percent of that group say they would repeat those seminary classes if ‘they had it to do over again.'”
I’ve heard too many times since I started pursuing a seminary degree: “seminary degrees don’t matter.” Based on the conversations I’ve had (I’ve had a lot of them) and this type of survey from pastors, churches today value seminary just as much but view it as an added benefit than completely necessary. And I agree, seminary shouldn’t be a have-to and isn’t necessary for all people.
But no where else can people learn from Godly men and women who will put all their time and energy into building the future of the church. And for those of you who say that you can get that at your church, trust me, you can’t.
The challenge for seminaries today is bringing seminary into a culture that uses the internet to learn and has a job that they won’t give up to go back to school.
After reading about this survey, the dean at my seminary had this to say about Multnomah Seminary:
“The objective for MBS is to bring a quality evangelical seminary education to this generation of new leaders who are already serving in staff positions and, in many cases, who are being tapped as tomorrow’s senior leaders. We see this trend as an exciting opportunity to rethink what a seminary education is and how it is delivered.”