Saturday, December 20, 2014

Where UM pastors go to Seminary

Here's an interesting article on where UM pastors go to seminary (HT: John Kavanaugh). Interestingly, more than 1 in 7 new UM pastors go to Asbury--more than seven of the official UM seminaries combined (there are 13). One UM seminary had less than 1 in 100 newly ordained pastors go there. Another less than 3 in 100. Duke came in second to Asbury.

There are different ways to react to this sort of data. One impulse might be protectionist. Let's force UM candidates to go to some of the seminaries they obviously don't want to go to. That's the price fixing option that makes a lot of people resentful. It seems more appropriate to me not to fund institutions that obviously aren't serving the UM church very well. That's a waste of money.

I understand the impulse to try to prop up seminaries that are failing in the UM marketplace. Meanwhile, Asbury is looked down on by a lot of the UM church. I've heard that United isn't always given its due. Yet these are the two schools that have most entered into the distance education realm. How many UM students go to Asbury because they can do much of their MDIV without leaving their ministry? The resistance of the other seminaries to the online/distance world is hurting them, probably among other things.

In any case, Wesley where I'm at is now ATS accredited and we would be glad to serve. :-) I'm talking the possibility of dedicated UM cohorts that move through the MDIV program together. Our network includes 17 satellite locations around Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky if you want us to come to you onsite in this area. Just think, pastors in the Indiana conference could get their entire MDIV degree onsite and never have to leave their church. It would be an opportunity for the conference to have more direct influence on the training of their own pastors than any UM conference has over the training of its ordinands currently!

We're Wesleyan without an ideological edge. And wouldn't you rather have your pastors train with us than at an Anabaptist or Presbyterian seminary? We intentionally focus on the practice of ministry and are not an ideological seminary like many perceive Asbury to be. Sure, we're conservative in the vast scheme of American Christianity, but we take seriously Wesley's sermon On a Catholic Spirit.

Over 20 percent of our faculty are UM in the seminary, and 2 more teach in the undergraduate. We'll let you teach any UM specific courses you want to be part of your ordinands' program if you want to bring in your own people.

How about it, GBHEM?

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