sounds like there is.
Marc Cortez highlights this in his recent blog post discussing drop out rates for seminary graduates. He writes:
You often hear people lament the high dropout rate of those entering vocational ministry, particularly in their first few years. In a post earlier this week, John Ortberg repeated the statistic that ”90 percent of people who enter vocational ministry will end up in another field.” I’ve heard similar comments to the effect that 50% of more of seminary grads will drop out of ministry within the first five years.
Those are pretty startling claims. If people are burning out of ministry that quickly, then we are doing something desperately wrong.
The problem is that it’s not true.
This is certainly very encouraging news because, like many who don’t always check their facts and just promote myths and half truths, I actually believed this statement – that many seminary graduates drop out of ministry within the first five years. I believed it because I have seen it (but not a lot of it). We are going into our fourth year here at the Canyon so I hope we make it.
But I think the main thing being emphasized is that the strongest value of getting a good theological education is ministerial vitality.
Whether one is in church ministry, missions, chaplaincy, or some other venue of Christian ministry, a solid theological education will always prove valuable and give one the tools necessary to make it for the long haul.
Now, if course, this is not true of every person since every situation is different and there are folks who’ve been “in the ministry” for a hundred years with a basic Bible college degree or the basic level correspondence courses for ministerial licensing and such (or nothing at all) and they are strong, healthy and doing just fine, though I would not say this is the norm. But as it turns out, it is also not the norm to see seminary grads dropping out of the ministry left and right.
So, while getting that master of divinity isn’t everything – it certainly carries a lot of weight and contributes significantly to long term ministerial vitality strength and endurance.
This is also why, having been out of seminary 5 years now, I am considering possibilities of doing ThM work.
I have heard too that for many pastors, pursing a DMin has really contributed to their ministerial vitality and brought some renewal to their ministry and personal spiritual lives.
In a nutshell, a good theological education teaches you how not to burn out and how to protect yourself and others.
See also Brian LePort’s comments!