Back-to-school season isn’t constrained to conventional curriculums. As a new semester approaches, Christian Theological Seminary is promoting its courses to individuals who want to explore matters of faith and theology in the context of everyday life.
The seminary is responding to changes in the demographics of theology students in central Indiana and around the nation. Increasingly, seminaries are seeing the age of incoming students rise, and a trend toward more students pursuing “encore” or second careers focused on faith and spirituality.
CTS non-degree programs include courses on the Old and New Testaments, Psalms and biblical languages as well as topics that encompass issues of war, peace and social justice.
“The non-degree programs strive to integrate concepts of faith into everyday issues confronted by individuals in their professional and personal lives,” said Interim Co-Academic Dean Bernie Lyon. He noted many CTS courses will be offered in the evening to accommodate the schedules of professionals.
The new emphasis on attracting non-degree seeking students reflects the goals of CTS’s new president Rev. Dr. Matthew Myer Boulton who envisions a time when faith will increasingly become part of conversations and questions about business and community. For example, what role does faith play at the “bio crossroads of America?” How can faith-based organizations and the community jointly address social justice issues like those impacting public education in Central Indiana or the relationship between law enforcement and the public?
CTS is engaging a provocative marketing campaign to engage non-traditional students. A series of ads and mailers announces, “Jesus didn’t have a degree either.” The objective is to remove the perception that the seminary serves only those pursuing a career in the church. Popular culture also has increased mainstream conversation about spirituality, particularly among mid-life individuals.
“Books and movies such as Eat, Pray, Love have shone the spotlight on universal questions many individuals experience at mid-life,” said Melissa Hickman, vice president for seminary advancement at CTS.
Classes begin Aug. 29 and run through December. Whether seeking a degree or not, students should register no later than Aug. 26. Courses will be held at CTS’s campus on W. 42nd St., Indianapolis. Additional information is available at www.cts.edu/admissions.