Inside Higher Ed reports that North Park University is encouraging ministry degree students to pursue a business degree in conjunction with their theological studies:
North Park, an evangelical college on the north side of Chicago, believes its seminary to be the first to encourage students who want to become pastors to study business.
The college is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church, founded by Lutheran immigrants in the late 19th century; it’s a small denomination of Christianity, with fewer than 200,000 adherents in the United States. Although its seminary is the only one for Evangelical Covenant ministers in the United States, and also trains students from other Protestant denominations, just 41 students graduated this spring.
College administrators argue that for many church leaders, an academic background in business background is very helpful.
“You may really be leading a church and planning a budget and other financial matters,” said Kirsten Burdick, the seminary’s director of admissions. At a small church like Hoden’s, pastors are sometimes the only administrator in the building. At a larger church, a big staff and complicated finances can make training in accounting and management helpful.
Traditionally, much of that experience was learned on the job, Burdick said. But alumni have found their training is attractive to churches: “To have that ministry experience and training, but also to have the business-mindedness is really significant,” Burdick said.
Students can pursue a master’s in business administration or a master’s in nonprofit administration in conjunction with a master of divinity, a master of arts in Christian formation or a master of arts in Christian ministry.