Midwestern Seminary was recently recognized as one of seven accredited seminaries that have demonstrated consecutive enrollment growth over the past five years.
The report, entitled “What Makes Seminaries Grow?”, was published by the In Trust Center for Theological Schools in its Summer 2021 magazine and utilizes annual data distributed by the seminary’s accreditor, the Association of Theological Schools. Midwestern is listed alongside Northern Seminary in Lisle, Ill.; Shepherds Theological Seminary in Cary, N.C.; Sioux Falls Seminary in S.D.; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky; and Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.
The report indicates the seven institutions saw a cumulative total student headcount increase of 43 percent over the past five years and also notes Midwestern Seminary’s most recent fall enrollment is nearly double that of five years ago. The seminary’s total student headcount increased from 1,196 students in the fall of 2015 to 2,397 in the fall of 2020. ATS data accounts for graduate enrollment figures only, thus undergraduate enrollment figures are not included.
“We could not be more pleased to be recognized as one of seven ATS institutions with consistent enrollment growth over the past five years,” said Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen. “That only seven institutions out of over 300 have demonstrated consistent increases over that time period says something of the climate of theological education in North America, yet we are thrilled to be among them. We are grateful for all that God has done and is doing at Midwestern Seminary.”
The In Trust report aims to identify contributing factors that have aided each institution’s sustained enrollment growth. The report lists several common characteristics found among the schools, including a strong, engaged president; an active, scholarly faculty; innovative programs; an emphasis on spiritual growth and discipleship; professional admissions strategies; doctrinal foundations; and affordability.
Midwestern Seminary is specifically noted for its commitment to equipping faculty members for on-campus and external ministry opportunities and its innovative approaches to reaching prospective students and serving current students via opportunities for on-campus discipleship.
The report highlights the seminary’s “Ask the Experts” live-stream events, which Midwestern hosted online throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. The sessions featured brief teaching sessions from faculty members and offered prospective students opportunities to dialogue with professors about a wide range of topics. The report also mentions the seminary’s “Timothy Track” residential mentoring program, which offers select students a 50 percent tuition scholarship, “in-the-field” ministry training, and one-to-one mentoring with local pastors.
“We are continually thinking through creative ways to connect with a broader base of individuals who may be considering theological training,” said Camden Pulliam, vice president of enrollment management at Midwestern Seminary.
“The recent ATS report is great news for Midwestern Seminary, and it helps give context to what we are trying to accomplish as an institution. Access to a world-class faculty, an intense focus on spiritual growth, and a steadfast commitment to the truth and the local church are just a few of the features that set Midwestern Seminary apart.”
In addition to the factors cited by In Trust, Allen pointed to the seminary’s vision and theological convictions as two primary reasons for the continual increase in enrollment. “Our ambition is to be the most faithful seminary on the planet when it comes to serving the local church,” said Allen. “Serving local churches is a stewardship we are committed to and one we enjoy.
“Additionally, our doctrinal commitments ensure we will not waver from the truth of God’s Word, come what may culturally from season to season. We proudly hold to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the Nashville Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality, and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, all with complete confidence and conviction.
“As we reflect on the past five years, we have the opportunity to thank God for what he has done thus far and to learn from what we have done right and what we can do better. In doing so, we are committed to redoubling our efforts to serve the local church for the next five years and beyond.”
To view the 2020 ATS Annual Report, visit the ATS website.
Read the full In Trust report: “What Makes Seminaries Grow?”