Theological education is expensive. At least in the modern acceptable acquisition of it.
First, you need a degree in theology of some sorts. To secure a Master of Divinity in order to be considered a candidate by most churches or pastoral search committees will require four years of full-time study. Then, in order to finance that degree you might strike it average with $30,000.00 in tuition debt. All and all, you could find a pastoral position paying $44,000 or so per year. (See Source Here)
Amassing a considerable set of commentaries, topical books, dictionaries, and various other books to assist you in ‘ministry’ might just put you in the poorhouse also.
One example is this list from the Masters College in California. Extensive, thorough, and definitely a library I would love to spend hours in each day. Even if the cost of each book was used and below resale value $5,000.00 might get you up and running.
Then you might want to secure a decent bible software. Granted, computers are not necessarily an entitlement or a gimme, many people have them, access to them, or can get one on the cheap. Bible software ranges from great to horrible, free to ridiculous, and even powerful to useless. You can start with some of the most reputable programs. BibleWorks, Logos, and Accordance all have excellent features to them. Some have trials and other ways of exploring which ones you would prefer. Otherwise, test driving could cost you groceries for two months easy.
- BibleWorks 9: Standard software package begins at $359.00
- Logos: Starter package with additional resources begins at $294.95
- Accordance (MAC OSx): Bible Study collection begins at $199.99
Without considering other extenuating start up ministerial costs like housing, transportation, and food we have a moderate sum of money staring us in the face. Even though I am being conservative the amount is still overwhelming. To summarize our base costs:
- Education: $30,000.00
- Reference Library: $5,000.00
- Bible Software: $359.00
Grand total: $35,359.00.
Is it all worth it? That depends on your perspective I suppose. I would not criticize the diligence and dedication many persons have committed to acquiring all that it takes to enter into the ministry. But I would reason that the expense is not necessary. The above observations come from a trajectory that would lead one into a professional pastorate somewhere. Considering this as a full-time vocation and way of life these expenses are nominal. But, when you evaluate the commands of scripture and what it takes to be obedient to Kingdom life and Yeshua’s Commandments, a bit of head scratching is in order.
Is it necessary for us to pursue deeper knowledge, fuller understanding, and dedication to discipling others? Can we afford to acquire the same level of ministerial credentials without incurring similar expenses?
I think we can. In my next post, I’ll show some practical examples that will help bring you up to par!
This post is part of a series on higher Christian Education: