Eight Classes They Should Be Teaching in Seminary, but Aren’t

As the face of ministry changes, our seminaries are still teaching things like Hebrew and Greek and Medieval Theology, when what pastors really need are the tools to help them succeed in today’s ministry landscape. Here are some suggestions for changes in curriculum:

Basic Plumbing and Carpentry

This class will teach you basic skills such as when you need to merely jiggle the handle or replace all of the insides of the toilet (and refer you to YouTube videos that teach you how to do that yourself). You will also learn how to properly use a plunger, and why one of the first things you need to know when you start work at a new church is where to turn off the water. You will build your skills with a hammer, electric drill, wrench and level while also learning how to work safely from a ladder. In our final class, we will learn at least 50 different reasons duct tape is your friend.

Why You Shouldn’t Take it Personally When Folks Don’t Show up to Church

We’ll spend a semester convincing you that  people not showing up for church is not about you. We will give you a number of reasons why you shouldn’t take it personally and help you see that you’re good enough, smart enough and, gosh darnit, people like you. Be warned that there are very few A’s in this class because most people do not buy into the premise.

How to keep a poker face

You hear some pretty amazing, unbelievable, shocking things in the ministry. This class will teach you not to respond to any of it with, “Holy @&*#,” but with a calm, comforting look on your face.  There will be an entire unit on the importance of the “pause before responding.”

Janitorial skills

You’ll learn how to use one of those fancy mop buckets with the wringer attached, how to operate a shop vac and the best ways to clean things like brass (memorial plates), stainless steel (kitchen) and silver (fancy communion ware). There will also be an entire kitchen cleaning unit as well as short workshop on getting stains out of  paraments.

How to act like you were in the AV club in High School

If you want to use high tech equipment–like projectors and powerpoints and I-pads–in your congregation, don’t expect anyone to know how to use them. They’re going to expect you to know that.  This class will teach you how to assemble, connect and use all the latest tech gadgetry. Recommended that you take the course in your final semester as everything you learn will be obsolete in 6 to 12 months.

Social Media 101 for Ministry

FB update, Tweet, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest your way to ministry success! Learn what a hashtag is and how to do the rest of your ministry around all the time your social media trolling and updating will suck up.

How to Live on a Budget

Every year, seminaries send thousands (well, maybe hundreds) of mired-in-debt graduates out to low-paying jobs without the skills they need to survive. You’ll learn how to make and keep a budget, 101 ways to use Ramen noodles, the secrets of savvy thrift store shoppers and how to cut your own hair. This class replaces “How to Marry Someone Who will Support Your Ministry Habit,” after protests that the class was sexist and the male students somehow  managed to fill up the class before our female students could even get to the registration office.

Creative Fundraising

In the 21st century, member pledges are not enough to support a ministry. In this class, you’ll learn how to put on a fancy fundraising dinner, how to use crowd source funding, how to run a successful silent auction and how to check on the legalities of a raffle in your state. We’ll also take you through the process of discernment to answer questions such as, “Do we really need this building?”, “How much of our space can we rent?” and “Should we sell the parking lot?”

Seminaries and theological schools take note and better prepare the next round of graduates for congregational ministry.


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