What To Do???

Posted: April 20, 2009 in Daily Blog

I am a believer in higher education.  I am a lifelong learner and will find ways to keep up with the fields I am interested in.  But deep inside I have these rebellious tendencies that challenge the status quo or those that insist there must be a certain pathway others must follow to be approved.  So I find this inner struggle at play… the “approved” advanced degree for pastors is an 80 hour Masters of Divinity Degree.  I know it will help me, but come on, 80 hours!!!??!  Most Masters Degree programs are about half that.  Recently I found a program through a great school from the North West that offers a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership.  I love the idea of that kind of degree so I am finding out more about it.  My concern is, even though I would much rather pursue a Leadership degree program, I worry that I will be disappointed if I don’t get the Masters of Divinity.  What to do, what to do…

This fall I want to take a class or two, but am still trying to determine where to go and what to do…  anyone else have a hard time with decisions like these?

  1. jennifer hutson says:

    I know it is a huge commitment of time and energy, and I’m not knowledgeable enough about this degree to understand the intrinisic benefits beyond the accreditation it brings. But, as one who grew up in the home of a Deacon, Sunday School Superintendent, and Elder who was the head of multiple pastoral search committees, I know that this degree was a basic prerequisite. The CVs of pastoral candidates without it were not even read or given the opportunity for an interview.

    Is this fair? Is this degree that important? I have no idea. But, depending on your career path, your opportunity to prove yourself in many roles will likely be determined by people who use this kind if a degree as a measuring stick.

    I make these kinds of decisions by calculating cost and ROI. I’ve been considering an MBA for some time, but until now my goals have been centered around home and family. The cost (not just financial) was too great, and I could never get the time back with my kids when they were this little. Also, I was not sure the financial/career return on my investment would be sure. However, this equation is starting to change, and as my kids need less of my physical presence and the job market tightens, it is starting to make more sense than it has in the past.

    If you stay in your current role for the remainder of your career, then the purpose of this kind of degree may primarily be for your own personal development. However, you have a different kind of accountability structure than in the secular business world. If you ever wanted or needed to seek a pastorate in some other established church, you would need to have (or be pursuing) a Masters degree to get your foot in the door.

    Best regards as you make this decision!!

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