Concordia Seminary began the 2003-04 academic year with its largest incoming class in 32 years. A total of 178 new residential students preparing to serve in the pastoral ministry in The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) marked a 44% increase over last year’s incoming class and continued a trend of dramatically increasing enrollment. Concordia Seminary’s current enrollment, 730 students, distinguishes it as one of the 25 largest seminaries of any Christian denomination in the United States.
Each year, the admissions office at Concordia Seminary prepares an analysis of the incoming class according to numerous criteria. Such an analysis is helpful in defining enrollment trends. The analysis of the 2003-04 incoming class reveals the following data:
- 165 master of divinity program and 13 certificate program students enrolled.
- Almost half (46%) came from just five states: Wisconsin (20), Illinois (15), Minnesota (15), Nebraska (13) and Missouri (12).
- 46% came from five LCMS districts: Missouri (19), Michigan (14), South Wisconsin (13), Texas (12), Minnesota South (9) and Southeastern (9).
- The average age of master of divinity program students is 29.0 years, with 52% being 25 years-old or under and 23% being over 35 years old. The average age for certificate program students is 48.8 years. When certificate program students are included, the average age for all students is 30.4 years.
- 44% of master of divinity program students are single. All certificate program students are married. 122 children of new students joined the Seminary community with their parents. Of the married students, 115 have no children, 12 have one child, 16 have two children, 12 have three children, 8 have four children and 2 have five children or more.
- 52% of master of divinity program students are second career. The second career percentage increases to 56% when certificate program students are included.
- 65% are lifelong LCMS members. An additional 12% have been LCMS members for more than 15 years.
- 72% list a pastor as influential in their decision to enter the ministry.
- 9% of master of divinity program students are sons of LCMS pastors.
- 48% of master of divinity program students graduated from a Concordia University System school. The most graduated from Seward (22), Mequon (16), St. Paul (11) and River Forest (10).
- The average undergraduate grade point average for master of divinity program students is 3.136.
The surging enrollment at Concordia Seminary began four years ago when the Seminary’s Board of Regents took the bold step of initiating a full-tuition partnership for all residential students preparing to serve as pastors in the LCMS. This partnership involves a student’s home congregation, home district, and gifts from donors to Concordia Seminary in covering tuition costs. “The people of the church have also played a large role in this enrollment increase as they have provided not only their prayers, but also the financial resources necessary to cover tuition costs for our future pastors,” commented Rev. Glen Thomas, the Seminary’s vice president for seminary relations. “Yet, the incredible enrollment surge has produced a daunting fiscal challenge and we appeal to congregations, groups and individuals throughout the church to continue their generous support of our future pastors.”
Those contemplating seminary enrollment and preparation to serve in the pastoral ministry are invited to contact Concordia Seminary’s admissions office at 1-800-822-9545, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those wishing to offer financial gifts in support of future pastors may contact the Seminary’s development office at 1-800-822-5287, or email@example.com. Donors may also utilize the Seminary’s online donation function on its Web site (https://www.csl.edu/donate.htm). A credit card may be used to make an offering for the full-tuition partnership.
For more information, contact Communications, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; 314.505.7374; firstname.lastname@example.org.