There was another article today about downsizing a major seminary. This time it was about a place many local clergy attended, Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Cuts in the upcoming budget amount to about 15 percent.
By all accounts Luther is an excellent seminar with graduates acquiring substantial training in theology. The current problem is complex. There are fewer students. The lost revenue cannot be made up from the denomination. Students cannot find employment that pays enough to take care of the debt they have at graduation.
Many evangelical denominations do not require nearly the training for their pastors mainline denominations require. I would compare the requirements for these evangelical churches to be something like that of a trade school. This requires a less expensive “seminary”, there may not be one, and students costs are far less.
I could not locate today an article I read a couple of years ago. It was written by a faculty member of a famous seminary. He said seminaries which consider themselves “producers” of theology and who consider people in the pews as “consumers” have it backwards.
People in the pews now can read theology on their own and consider themselves “producers”. This makes the likelihood of them putting up lots of money to subsidize their denomination’s seminary or paying salaries needed by seminary graduates less likely.
The future appears to be one of preachers who are graduates of state universities instead of seminaries, shared church buildings and more mergers of denominations.