What to do with a Master of Arts?

The other day I was reading an article on advanced degrees in the Economist. It turns out that putting a Master's degree on your resume doesn't always equal more money! Go figure. Yet I'm still satisfied that I'll be getting my Master of Arts degree in Theology Studies this winter from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Unfortunately, with just under 5 years left in the Navy, I'm not sure what I can do with a degree like that. The Navy wouldn't let me be a chaplain because it's not a long enough degree and I don't have official experience in church, so that's out.

So I'm going to put it out to all of you. Please let me know what you think. What are your recommendations for this path? Do churches hire staffers with just a master of arts? Do mission agencies take people on with that degree? What about parachurch organizations?

Love to hear your thoughts!


Steve said...

Churches absolutely hire MACE graduates. Most SBC seminaries offer a degree in something similar. I graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts in Christian Education. Most Minsters of Education would have that degree. At one time it was an MRE. Funny, right? (That’s a Masters Religious Education)

But, while I have seen a few churches that will specify that they want a pastor to have a M-Div, most don’t care. They’d be happy with Bible College, much less with a seminary grad.

I eventually had to get my M-Div so I could get into the D-Min program I wanted. But what’s another thirty hours among friends, right?

Anyway. Proudly tell people that you’re a seminary grad and that you have an educated guess at what you’re telling them. Then let God find your place of calling. The paper won’t matter to those people. They’ll care that God sent YOU.

(And ultimately, Dan, the paperwork doesn’t make much difference anyway. I know some guys with PhD’s that couldn’t preach their way out of a wet paper bag, and some old boys with no schooling that preach like they’re heaven bound with the hammer down. Consider the degree a door opener. What matters are you and God. You’re young, smart, and will have tons of Sea stories for sermon fodder!) God will find you a place to use your education.

Blessings, Brother!

The Navy Christian said...

I do understand that it doesn't matter what paper I have between me and God, but for whatever flawed reason, man looks on the outward appearance and expects to find a diploma. I'm very glad to hear that churches do hire with a "lower" degree.

Jeremy Statton said...

Dan. I have no idea what the answer is to your question, but I have some thoughts about degrees. The first is that certain jobs require certain degrees. You simply cannot get through the door or even obtain necessary certification without that degree. The other thought relates to the concept of degrees and resume's. Our society has been built around resume's, but as education gets easier to obtain, finding a great experience or showing the ability to create new information can be better than having the best resume.

The Navy Christian said...

Jeremy, I am grateful for your thoughts on the idea of resumes and experience. It used to be that a degree could separate a person, but that's not necessarily the case anymore. Finding the necessary experience is important. Thank you for that insight.