Seminaries and theological schools historically have trained two kinds of people: pastors and academic theologians. But more and more these institutions are realizing they need to develop and nurture students to serve outside those lines. Helene Slessarev-Jamir, a professor of urban ministries at Claremont Theological School, has a vision for her students to become “practitioners that inter-relate religion with whatever work they’re already doing; be it nonprofit, environmental, or global hunger issues,” she says.
Here’s more information and more programs to spark your imagination.
School: Seattle Pacific University
Unique Program: Business and Applied Theology
Location: Seattle, Washington
The financial world is in great need of faithful, ethical professionals. Seattle Pacific University’s answer is a joint endeavor between the schools of business and theology with a new master’s degree in business and applied theology. “People are beginning to see the mutual benefit of socially-minded business people working cooperatively with theologians,” Doug Strong, dean of the school of theology, told Sojourners. “Such a cooperative endeavor will help to ground theological study in the real world and will help Christian businesses to understand their obligations to develop a more just society.”
The program is designed not only for church leaders to improve their finance skills and business people to integrate faith into their work (the degree can also be combined with an M.B.A.), but also, says Strong, “for those who are hoping to use business as a means for social change—especially through nonprofits, microfinance organizations, or social venture enterprises.”
School: Claremont School of Theology