What can you do with a theological seminary degree?

A theological degree is an avenue of endless possibilities, and a great starting point to being the extension of Christ’s hands and feet that we are all called to be.

By Kimberley Proctor White, Admissions Associate

When you’re a kid, it was always so simple to think of what you wanted to be when you grew up. Whether it was an astronaut, doctor, farmer, or a teacher, everything seemed so simple and clear cut when it came to figuring out a career for the future. Fast forward to adulthood, and we are often left scratching our heads trying to figure out what to do with our lives. We graduate high school and are expected to attend college, which is to prepare ourselves for the herd of employers who will be waiting on our front doorstep to offer us a job. Or so that is what we were told! But the reality is that there are times in life in which we find ourselves at a crossroad trying to discern who we DESIRE to be and who we are EXPECTED to be. And that discernment can be challenging when opportunities are not knocking on our door as we had hoped.

For some people, making the decision to enroll in seminary was an easy choice because they were confident in their calling into ministry and what they wanted to do. A theological seminary degree – such as Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theological Studies (MTS), or Master in Pastoral Studies (MPS) – from an institution that emphasizes practical preparation for congregational ministry is a solid foundation for effectively leading a congregation.

But what about those who have earned a theological degree and aren’t certain of a calling to congregational ministry, and are left wondering, “So, what’s next?” As frustrating as the unknown can be, it can also bring a sense of mystery and adventure. One of the most important things that we have to get out of our heads is the notion that a theological degree means that we can only serve in a pulpit or only within the four walls of the church. We can take a look throughout the Scriptures to see that there were ministry opportunities everywhere, and very rarely did people only minister inside an actual structure.

So even as an adult, there may be moments in life where you’re still asking, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Maybe you’re in a transitional period in life, and you want to make a career move, the kids are older and have moved away, ministry opportunities are slim, or you just simply want more in life. With a theological degree, there is no limit to how God can use you. Whether you feel called to minister in the church, in your community, work with children, veterans, teach higher education, or work with those behind prison walls, God is faithful to work through you to greatly impact the lives of others. With a little faith and perseverance, those opportunities can nurture your calling, strengthen your walk with God, and give others the courage to tap into their own God-given talents. A theological degree is more than just a degree you have earned and more than just a piece of paper with your name on it. It is a new beginning, an avenue of endless possibilities, and a great starting point to being the extension of Christ’s hands and feet that we are all called to be.