Skip to main content Skip to footer

My father worked for New York State and spent 30 years helping people in Rochester, NY find employment. His chief aim was not just to give them a job but to call out a gift or skill in each person he met. This remains true for anyone he meets – he wants to encourage them in any way possible. I still meet people years later who were placed in jobs and encouraged by my father.

For the last 15+ years, as a seminary recruiter, I’ve had the opportunity to hear from people who have a special and unique call to invest in a season of theological education and formation. I suspect that when you think about people who want to go to seminary, you have a certain person in mind. Perhaps it is a person filling a church pulpit. Or a Bible teacher who is passionate about translating a Greek New Testament text. These are surely important roles but I have found these to be less and less the case as a seminary recruiter.

Today, 70 percent of the people inquiring about seminary at Northeastern are women. When I ask about their purpose for inquiring about attending graduate school, it’s rarely to become a professor or to pastor a church with a full-time salary (although they aren’t opposed to these things). Their response most often leads with a call, a nudge, and a definite passion. My Christian sisters are able to give echoes of what they think God might be calling them to but it’s rarely prescriptive.

In March, I was able to attend my first Women’s Holiness Wesleyan Clergy conference in Dallas, TX. I spent several days hearing from women boldly serving in a wide variety of ministries around North America. Many of them I have had the privilege of talking with for the last two decades. You know what was amazing? They were still driven by the same call that catapulted them on their ministry journey to begin with. Was it easy or “successful?” This was not their operating framework. They spoke foremost about God’s faithfulness, and appreciation for others and they openly shared their challenges to living out their calling as a woman in ministry.

I Chronicles 29:9 says God wants us to be willing, not feel obligated. In a church landscape that bemoans the laborers being too few, I am reminded about half the church that often gets overlooked. If the people I talk to on the other end of the phone are a snapshot of the future, may we have ears to hear and voices that speak out for their essential role in and outside the church. 

Photo of JP Anderson

About the author

JP Anderson

JP Anderson is the Associate Vice President for Seminary Enrollment at Northeastern Seminary