Thinking About School for Ministry?

M. Mooney Reporting
for
National Association
of Christian Ministers
Continuing
education is a worthwhile endeavor
Thinking About School for Ministry?
In most instances, no matter what
may be a minister’s special focus in ministry, or even career goals, higher
education is financially worth the investment. 
The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce reports
that workers who hold a bachelor’s
degree earn almost 85% more over the course of a lifetime than those without a
four year degree.
Even those holding an associate’s degree earn some $500,000
more than those with a high school diploma. Their research shows a clear
relationship between higher education and increasing the likelihood of higher
lifetime earnings.  In fact the
probability that employees without bachelor degrees will ever earn more than
those who hold them is approximately 17%. 
Therefore in general, higher education is financially worth both the
time and expense.
Of course, this is to view education
strictly in monetary terms.  While the
general population may view education as a means to an end (higher salaries),
it should not be assumed that money is the most important factor to everyone
who pursues a degree.  For example, the salaries
of pastors vary significantly, and such should not be the most important factor
when deciding to answer a call to ministry.
The Compensation Handbook for Church Staff places the
average salary of senior pastors in the area of $56,000 a year.
However, this is really a broad average and is typical of
the highest positions within church compensation.  As a contrast, catholic priests are paid
about $30,000 a year and must have a Masters in Divinity which is 7 years of
full time college education. In addition, they must meet many other church
appointed criteria –which include a life of celibacy.  Granted, even these positions are not without
their perks because their housing and transportation are often provided in
addition to their salaries.  Yet, the
previous mentions are descriptive of “paid” positions in ministry.  There are a multitude of ministers who never
receive any compensation for their work. 
Even some of them use the money they earn from secular jobs to help
finance their ministry efforts.
No matter what a minister intends to
do with the education they pursue, it still seems to be a financially worthwhile
endeavor.  From a statistical standpoint,
a bachelor degree in any subject will position them to significantly increase their
lifelong earnings.  There are many
positions of employment that require 4-year degrees (in any subject) for entry.  Enterprise Rent a Car is a good example.  This company prefers their employees to hold
a bachelor’s degree.  Their starting salary
is around $34,000 a year –with lots of potential for advancement.
Has God Called You to School
Probably the most important question
to consider is whether or not God has called you to school for the purpose of
the ministry He has given you. This is something that you must decide.  God does not call everyone to school, and
school is not for everyone.  In fact,
there are groups of people in the world that God wishes to have hear the gospel,
yet they may never give the speech of a college educated person 5 minutes!  Contrarily, they would be willing to listen
to someone with whom they could identify or feel speaks their language.
If you conclude that God is calling
you to school, the next questions to answer are:
The above questions link to valuable
information provided by the National Association of Christian Ministers.
References
Compensation Handbook for Church
Staff
Georgetown University Center on Education
and the Workforce Report
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