(WSJ) Sarah Pulliam Bailey: Back to (Divinity) School

Students under 30 still make up the largest age cohort in seminaries, according to the Association of Theological Schools. But older students are growing in representation among 74,000 or so students pursuing a seminary degree from an institution associated with the agency that accredits graduate schools of theology. The percentage of students over 50 enrolled in a seminary rose to about 21% in 2011 from 12% in 1995. The percentage of students under 30 has hovered at around 30% during the same period.

Older students bring some advantages to churches, including congregations that may not be able to afford a pastor who seeks a sizable salary, says Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools. Older pastors may have a pension from a previous career and may not carry as much debt as younger candidates.

“Those who are older identify with what people who are going through because they bring a lot of life experience,” Mr. Aleshire says. “They may not have the energy, but they may be more skilled overall.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

One comment on “(WSJ) Sarah Pulliam Bailey: Back to (Divinity) School

  1. CSeitz-ACI says:

    As a theological educator I found the statistics oddly deployed. Why ‘under 30’ and ‘over 50’ and why is the latter ‘life experienced’ but not someone in the 30-50 range? I ask because in the early 80s the category that was under-proportional (given the long history) was people coming straight out of college. This article makes it sound like having older people is a fresh desideratum. I would have said it was pretty much a given (second-career people).