Seminary enrollment has been rising sharply in the past few years, and according to new statistics released by universities related with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, figures continue to rise.
While some seminaries have been closing down their doors, many conservative and evangelical seminaries have been flourishing in the last decade. The seminaries related to the Washington D.C.-based Council of Christian Colleges and Seminaries, for example, enrollment rates rose by a staggering 70.6 percent since 1990.
The LCMS – a conservative denomination with over 2 million members – experienced a similar growth in the last year. In total, enrollment in its undergraduate and graduate schools grew by nearly 1,000 students.
Most of the growth in enrollment came from the graduate programs; its undergraduate programs grew by a mere 12 to 13,658, while the number of graduate students jumped by 971 to a total of 4,911 an increase of 25 percent. This marks the highest enrolment for LCMS-related schools in the denomination’s history.
According to Dr William Meyer, retiring executive director of the LCMS Board for University Education and past president of the Concordia University System, the difference in growth of undergraduate and graduate programs is a natural phenomenon.
Meyer explained to LCMS news that there is a “shift in emphasis in American education” where more people believe an undergraduate degree is not enough.
People and employers believe more education than high school and college is needed. Subsequently, graduate education has really increased, he said.
Meyer also added that the 10 seminaries in the Concordia University System are in an ideal position to fill these graduate needs because they are recognized for their teacher education emphasis.
There are many obvious benefits to this growth in graduate education, he explained. This growth is “not only good but necessary, if you want to remain viable. Plus, the “influence the schools have on American society also helps the denomination.”
Copyright © 2004 The Christian Post.