Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) announced today that the 2014 Seminarian Offering reached a six-year high with a total raised of $190,000. This offering represents the highest total since the economic recession of 2008. Further, 300 more churches participated in the offering in 2014 than participated in 2013.
Rev. Carla Sunberg, Ph.D., president of NTS said “This increase speaks well of the commitment of the denomination and its members to prepare the next generation for service and ministry in the Church of the Nazarene. NTS is determined to meet the needs and demands of congregations seeking a prepared and qualified clergy.”
Sunberg spoke to the reality that 40% of USA/Canada’s current clergy is from the baby boomer generation and is expected to reach retirement age within the next ten to fifteen years. “We must prepare the next generation for service and be ready for the tsunami of retirements that will impact congregations large and small,” Sunberg shared. “Our prayer is that this offering is the beginning of a trend where more and more churches participate in financially supporting the Seminary and providing additional resources that will strengthen our capacity to fulfill our mission in the Church.”
This offering contradicts a global trend in support of theological education. Seminaries and Bible Schools are struggling to acquire the necessary resources to provide a theological education that prepares clergy for service in their communities. In a statement released by the newly elected Seminary President, Sunberg expressed her appreciation to the leadership of the denomination and to the District Superintendents who are promoting the work and mission of the Seminary.
Sunberg said, “Our goal for 2015 is to break the $200,000 ceiling in the Seminarian Offering and to increase church participation by 500 more congregations. I know we can do it, because I believe that with God all things are possible.”