To the person in the pew, who probably has little reason to think about where her pastor attended seminary, giving to theological education can be a very abstract proposition. Couple this with a tough economy and sweeping changes in cultures and capacities of mainline denominations, and seminary development officers face a daunting task as they engage prospective donors.
Perhaps the most effective “pitch” isn’t one at all. Rather, it is an invitation to reflect on one’s own experience. We all have pivotal moments in our spiritual journeys, where we turn corners into deeper truths about our own selves and our roles in God’s world. What many of us may not realize is that oftentimes, in those crucial periods of growth when we seek the counsel of our pastor or spiritual mentor, we may unknowingly be drawing upon the skills of a theologically educated person.