Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers
Aims and Purposes
At New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) our approach to theological education is unique. Though some students come our way directly after completing their bachelor degrees, we actively target second-career students and enable them to customize schedules that fit with their complex work and family lives. Students can enroll part-time or full-time in day and evening classes on our two campuses: in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and in New York, at St. John’s University in Queens. Many students remain fully employed and we maintain our relationships with them through personalized, individual attention and advisement.
Our delivery of this program emphasizes coaching and individual attention, which are the successful trademarks of our unique education. Our aim continues to be to change the thinking and habits of affiliated churches and organizations by enhancing their awareness of the need to help support the financial costs of seminary education and also to consider more broadly the fairness of compensation for clergy and faith leaders as an issue of justice and faith as well as promoting physical and spiritual health.
The program components are designed to provide consumer information, courses, financial aid workshops and one-on-one counseling. Students will be exposed to core topics concerning financial wellbeing, including:
- Financing Theological Education. Guidance on potential sources for funding a theological education infused with real-life examples of successful seminarians who used multiple approaches to financing their education.
- Negotiating Fair Compensation and Benefits, including “Pay-for-Service.” Realistic salary ranges, the trend toward consulting or “pay-for-service” versus in-house resources, and understanding cost structures of self-employment (taxes, insurance, vacation, sick time, etc.).
- Evaluating Prospective Employers. The job interview goes both ways—evaluating the financial soundness of prospective employers (for-profit, non-profit and churches).
- Approaches to Handling Debt. A comprehensive look at consumer debt (car loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc.) as well as education loans as part of a person’s total financial health. Research and present models of debt repayment programs and re-negotiating debt repayment based on percentage of actual salary.
For additional information or questions contact:
Dr. Terry A. Smith
Director of Assessment & Academic Initiatives
Affiliate Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies
(732) – 247-5241 ext. 207