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LeeLee Hinson-Hasty is coordinator for theological education and seminary relations in the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the PC (U.S.A.). Through his work Lee hopes to capture and share a more expansive view of theological education, of church leadership and of vocational discernment as he sees through the eyes of some exciting Presbyterians in and related to seminaries.

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September 24, 2012

Bold Moves in Theological Education

What's Next now!

Earlier this month my friend and colleague, Stephen Lewis, President of the Fund for Theological Education (FTE), announced that the vast majority of FTE's generous fellowships are under review during a strategic planning process of the board and staff.  For almost six decades FTE has cultivated new generations of diverse leaders in the church and the theological academy, but now is a time to step back before stepping forward.  Fellowships currently in place will not be impacted nor will the popular Volunteers Exploring Vocation program.  

I'm a big fan of FTE, especially how it operates as a think tank and active force in the North American church and theological education world.  In full disclosure, I was elected to the board last year and have been honored to be a part of  the conversation and visioning process.  Now when people confuse the TEF, the Theological Education Fund of the PC(USA), with the FTE, the Fund for Theological Education, I can honestly say I work to support both of them!

FTE's bold move to press the pause button, get in the balcony, and gain a clearer vision for the future is something I am seeing happening all across the church and theological education world.  Some call it strategic planning, others organizational discernment, still others visioning, goal setting, and establishing mission priorities or directions.  Whatever it's called, an organizational and personal reorientation is required.  

In my office and world, we are preparing for the Committee on Theological Education (COTE) meeting next month at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.   We are celebrating over two hundred years in theological education in the Presbyterian Church this year that began at Princeton and Union Presbyterian Theological Seminaries.   We are also imagining with God the future of theological education in the PC(USA).  I'm encouraged by changes already taking place at our schools and with students and excited about the bold moves that will lead us toward God's imagined future.

Lee in Louisville

Tags: leadership, seminaries, theological education, transformation


  1. I encourage you also to look at the growth and future of distance seminary education and supporting those students financially. The lack of scholarship and grant money for full-time distance M. Div. degrees make the financial burden of answering God's call an immense struggle for both the present and future.

    by Jason Schiller

    September 24, 2012

  2. I certainly hope the "look from the balcony" also includes a look at the empty back pews of our churdhes! While we are slowly(painfully!!) embracing technology, our seminary grads are finding continued resistance to its use and implementation. Our "church of the word" can't seem to say any new words. New grads have to change attitudes and help the church overall get into the current generation. Why does it always feel as though we are at leat one or two generations behind in our preparation for students who will eventually fill our pulpits? How about more real world training in the tools and techniques of communication, organization, and education to bring our churches into the current age? Thanks and good luck!

    by Rev Dan Clark

    September 24, 2012

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