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Seminary says more women entering ministry

By: 15 May 2013 One Comment

Women in MinistryGlen Mollette said times are changing – the clergy has been a male dominated group for most of our American history, but the number of women who “hear the call” and become ministers is on the rise.

Mollette, of Newburgh Theological Seminary of Newburgh, Ind., said his institution is holding its commencement on June 1. In all, 36 percent of those graduates are women, a news release states.

“Women across the country in many Protestant circles are stepping up to the pulpits,” Mollette said in the news release. “Methodists, Presbyterians, Assembly of God and some of the Baptist groups have opened their pulpits and women are responding.”

Not all women entering the ministry choose to spend their career behind a pulpit – many choose to serve as administrators, educators, associates or Christian counselors, the news release states.

“Women are studying for all aspects of today’s ministry, ” said Dr. Keith Wilhite, Newburgh Academic Advisor for Newburgh Seminary, in the news release. “Women enroll in theology, missions and evangelism, preaching, Christian education and Christian counseling just like their male counterparts.”

Newburgh Theological offers online courses an a unique position to see sd has around 3,500 students. The seminary is 10-years-old and currently has students in every U.S. state and from 40 nations. Over the past decade, Mollette said he’s seen some trends develop that reveal a thing or two about who is entering the ministry.

For one thing, Mollette said that a good number of students come to the ministry after working for years at other careers. He pointed out that it’s not uncommon to see people who are 70-year-old or older enroll at Newburgh and graduate.

“40-years-old is relatively young for our students,” he said.

That means that a good number of pastors have life experiences with which their congregations can relate. Those older students weren’t always on track to become ministers – they decided later in life to become pastors and, as such, well understand the issues facing members of their congregations on a day-to-day basis.

Also, he said Newburgh Seminary is nondenominational, and that does run against the grain a bit. In the past, would train exclusively in the disciplines in one denomination or another – Baptists would attend seminary at schools that were locked into the Baptist faith, for example. Students would graduate from seminary and it was clear whether they would go to work at Baptist churches, Methodist churches, etc.

Some “strong, denominational-type churches” such as Southern Baptist or Methodist still look for pastors that are trained exclusively in those faiths and there is nothing wrong with that, Mollette said. However, that is not always the case.

“Some churches are looking for people who are authentic, committed and have a passion for what they’re doing. People who have gone through the nuts and bolts and have earned a degree. People with fire and passion to them,” Mollette said. “A lot of churches have decided that is more important than just hiring someone who has the right tag.”

For more information, visit NewburghSeminary.com.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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