Life after Seminary: What in the World Do I Do with a Seminary Degree?

You’ve done it.

You pushed yourself through a million challenges–Greek, Hebrew, public speaking, home sickness, cafeteria food–and finally gotten that degree. After the fancy gowns get put away and the graduation parties cease, the real world smacks you in the face.

But you’re not ordained, or not yet anyway. Heck, you’re not even sure what denomination you should be in. You’re not set on official ministry per se. It’d be nice, but you aren’t sure if you should go back to your denomination or find a new one, which has felt like entering a fancy dinner party at dessert.  Like more and more seminary grads, you aren’t sure if you want to minister in a church in an official capacity. A non-profit or para-church organization sounds awesome, but fundraising might not be the best option for you right now, and you still love the Church. Teaching sounds appealing at first, but 3-10 years for a PhD along with more debt sours the appeal pretty quickly.

If you’d thought some of these things before, you’re not alone. I speak with many friends about these issues on a daily basis, and there is a growing concern among seminarians who do not wish to pursue pastoral ministry immediately about future careers. In fact, this thinking comes up a lot in our admissions Q&A sessions for even prospective seminarians. Oxford even has an entire pamphlet dedicated to answering this question.

In order to answer this question, I reached out to a few Gordon-Conwell alumni to see who have jobs ranging from pastoral ministry to higher education to non-profit work. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting each one with the hopes that those who are considering seminary would be encouraged, but I also hope that  those who are just graduating might be encouraged as well.

Stay tuned!


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