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A few decades ago, 90 percent of graduates from Christian seminaries planned to pursue full-time jobs in ministry. But, in recent years, studies have shown that just 41 percent of seminary graduates anticipated finding a career in the church.
In other words, the majority of seminary students in 2020 do not plan to become pastors.
Why has there been such a radical shift?
An article published in Christianity Today entitled “Non-Traditional Seminary Students are Changing the Church,” by Abby Perry, took a closer look at this phenomenon.
Perry maintains that there is a crisis of discipleship in the modern Western Church, where churches are not providing robust theology and Biblical knowledge to satisfy and nourish their members. Sermons are often light, “seeker-friendly” fare that fails to challenge the mature Christian.
“As the days of cultural Christianity and the moral majority become increasingly obsolete, faithful churches are producing disciples hungry for the Word,” writes Perry. “Individuals who have not found discipleship in the church are going to do what they have to do to find it.” For many, this looks like enrolling in seminary.
Wayne Johnson, associate dean and associate professor of Biblical and pastoral theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, says, “We’ve lost the educational mandate that is part of Christian discipleship,” he said. In recent decades, churches have emphasized emotion over intellect when it comes to religious experience.
This modern church environment is partially a result of the Second Great Awakening in the mid-1700s, where thunderous preachers like Jonathan Edwards made passionate altar calls to bring people to their knees. Ethan Renoe, writing for Relevant Magazine, argues that the Church, in the last 200 years, “has begun discarding intelligence in favor of emotion, conversion, experiences and passion.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Meredith Harbman