Recently, a Yahoo Education article titled “Don’t Bother Earning These Five Degrees” placed religious studies as the second most unwanted degree by employers. In the same article a senior vice president of a recruiting company remarked, “I don’t even know what people do with these degrees, to be honest.”
To be honest, religion students at Northwest Nazarene University plan on serving the Church.
“I have felt called into ministry since 1998,” said James Austin who was formerly a small business owner. “I had a good job, but ten years after graduating from high school the wells dried up, and I needed to make a change. I decided to take God’s direction for my life seriously.” While at NNU, James is serving at Nampa First Church and hopes to continue there after graduation.
Aaron Moschitto is a conversationalist. “There wasn’t one moment when I was told to be a pastor, but God has led me to pursue ministry through my church leaders. Through conversation, they affirmed the call I had sensed for years.”
Aaron is on the worship team, works with 5th and 6th graders and is sometimes janitor at Mountain Home Church of the Nazarene. “There was a need, and I filled it. I’ll serve wherever I need to.” Aaron will start earning a Master of Divinity after graduation.
“I was 13, I didn’t like my youth group, and I was complaining to God,” laughs Michelle Borbe. “That’s when He told me I was going to be in youth ministry, and one day I would mentor a punk kid like myself.” After graduation, Michelle will move to Longview Church of the Nazarene near Vancouver, Wash. There she will work in youth ministry and begin a master’s program.
These three Christian Ministry majors are not worrying about a job after graduation. Years ago they committed themselves to God’s employment. In turn, NNU and the Church of the Nazarene committed to them. Faced with the reality that a large number of ministry candidates enter full-time Christian service with substantial student loan debt, NNU made a substantial commitment to undergraduate Nazarene ministerial students like James, Aaron and Michelle.
The Ministerial Loan & Scholarship Program offers qualifying students the potential of receiving up to $19,500 in grants over the course of their undergraduate studies. A ministry degree is both a personal and financial investment, but that does not mean the Church’s pastors should be burdened by insurmountable debt. This program is available to all undergraduate students entering NNU who select a major and a minor within the School of Theology & Christian Ministries and who plan on vocational ministry within the Church of the Nazarene. To insure the most aid goes to students who are serious about ministry, any student who receives the Ministerial Scholarship is asked to commit to be a pastor, minister or church leader.
When asked about this commitment, James said, “That doesn’t scare me; that’s what I’m preparing for. Being pushed into ministry is exactly what I am looking for.”
For those who know their calling, the Ministerial Scholarship is a blessing not a contract.
PHOTO CAP: Scholarship recipient Aaron Moschitto in the NNU Lucile Little Prayer Chapel