“A remarkable number of young women” are enrolling at Southern Baptist Convention seminaries, according to a report delivered this week to the SBC Executive Committee.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, in reporting to the EC Sept. 18, said female SBC seminary graduates are helping to fulfill a need in churches for “strong female Bible teachers.” He attributed the increased number of female students in part to the publication of high-quality theological resources for women by LifeWay Christian Resources.

“One of the things we have all been convinced of at the seminaries,” Patterson said, “is that one of the things we greatly need is a generation of female Bible teachers who really have their act together, who really understand the Word of God.

“… Coming through our programs are a remarkable number of young women who are going all the way [to terminal degrees] and doing the finest job they could possibly do in education,” Patterson said.

According to data submitted to the Association of Theological Schools, SBC seminaries saw a 12 percent increase from 2012-16 in female students enrolled in graduate-level degree programs. Last fall, nearly 1,900 women were pursuing graduate degrees at SBC seminaries.

Though undergraduate data is not reflected on ATS reports, at least some seminaries have experienced female student increases in their undergraduate programs, according to reports received by Baptist Press.

Rhonda Kelley, wife of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley, attributed the increase in female seminary enrollment both to “student wives taking seminary courses” and women “receiving theological training to equip them for vocational or lay ministry in a variety of different fields, including women’s ministry, psychology and counseling, music, Christian education, preschool and children’s ministry.”

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SOURCE: David Roach 
Baptist Press