I just graduated from Moody Theological Seminary with an M-Div! It was a long trek, but worth the effort. I had a great experience at Moody, and I would recommend it to anyone considering a Master’s degree in a ministry-related field. I also have recommended Moody Bible Institute (the undergrad program) to a number of people. Since I did my undergrad at a different institution, I can’t speak from personal experience with Moody’s undergrad program; therefore, this blog is focused on the seminary. Here are some reasons you should consider Moody Theological Seminary.
1. It’s affordable.
Money should never be the only deciding factor, but let’s be honest, it’s a major player. I looked at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in addition to Moody. Moody was the least expensive option of the three, and I really wanted to get the M-Div without borrowing student loans.
2. It’s evangelical.
If you are a conservative evangelical looking for a conservative evangelical seminary, look no further. Yes, I could’ve applied to Princeton Theological Seminary, or the University of Chicago Divinity School–and I certainly don’t wish to denigrate those programs; they’re excellent schools. However, I was looking for a school that would teach me how to do textual criticism without trying to destroy my faith in the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. I wanted professors who were capable of dialoguing with all perspectives without abandoning their evangelical convictions. I did not want a school that was afraid of the discussion, or a school that tried to insulate itself so far inside the fundamentalist bubble that it lost touch with reality. Moody is a school grounded firmly in biblical truth, yet active in the theological conversations and challenges facing the Church today.
3. It’s forward thinking.
On the scale of innovation, I fall somewhere between innovator and early adopter. I like to think forward about what’s next and leverage the latest ideas and technology for ministry. That’s exactly what Moody does. Some of my professors are engaged in conversations with Logos Bible Software about developing new research tools. The discourse analysis of biblical texts and language study skills we learned are cutting edge, enabling us to study the Bible in ways that have never been possible until the advent of computer technology like Logos. I like the idea of being on the forefront of biblical studies!
4. It’s ministry-minded.
Moody’s program is intentionally about ministry. It’s extremely practical, and perfectly designed to equip a pastor to serve his/her congregation. I like that Moody hasn’t gutted their biblical language requirements from the M-Div like other seminaries are doing. Instead, they teach you how to use biblical languages to study and prepare sermons and Bible studies.
5. The professors rock.
To be fair, I don’t have in-class experience in other seminaries, so I can’t really compare Moody’s profs to another school’s. However, the profs at Moody are awesome. They have real pastoral experience serving real churches, and are fountains of wisdom for church-related questions. They’re also scholars who push students to achieve high expectations. The profs are personally interested in their students, available and respsonsive–even to non-class-related questions, and gracious. Of all the things I will miss about Moody, I will miss the professors the most.
6. It’s diverse.
I live in a county that is 97% white. We don’t get much diversity around here! Driving to Chicago and interacting with teachers and students from all over the world was a breath of fresh air! I love that I could study with people from India, Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Kenya, Ghana, Italy, Germany, UK, Korea, Japan, China, and many other nations.
7. They have great distance-learning options.
I commuted to the Chicago campus, about a two-hour drive, once or twice a week. However, Moody has a great distance-learning program with some degrees completely attainable online (e.g., Master of Arts in Applied Biblical Studies). In addition to online classes, they also offer modular courses, which are intensive classes condensed down into about a week.
All things considered, Moody Theological Seminary should be on your short list of schools to look into if you’re interested in pursuing a certificate or degree program for ministry (whether vocational or volunteer). I think this is especially true if your ministry path is going to lead you to serve as a pastor!