The church ordinarily does a good job burying the dead. It has a harder time burying programs or institutions that are no longer fulfilling their intended mission.

That challenge is one of many facing theological education. With declining student enrollment, diminishing revenue and often deferred maintenance on aging buildings, many seminaries are trying hard to cast a viable vision of the future and to figure out what programs are crucial, which should be revised and which should be buried.

Institutions in survival mode typically spend little time or energy in visionary thinking. It would be a shame if the current crisis in seminary education didn’t lead to fresh thinking about how the church calls, trains and places people for pastoral ministry and other forms of church leadership. As L. Gregory Jones notes ("Something old, something new"), seminary educators have been trying to re-envision seminary education for decades, but little has changed on the ground.