In Ministry or a Classroom? Where Leaders are Really Made 

A debate is ramping up in the education world. Most see the continued value of the classroom as a key learning environment. But others have begun realizing that the classroom alone is not going to produce the leaders we need for the future. Many churches and ministries have begun offering ministry internship, Christian gap year, and church residency programs that create a more immersive learning experience. There are many reasons why an immersive learning model is proving successful. But one of the most immediate benefits is found in the job market. Here’s what people are discovering:

Experience Is King

If it has been a while since you have scanned the job boards, you may have missed the experience requirement trend. A recent survey of over one thousand job seekers showed that 55% of entry level job listings require three or more years of experience. That is a rise of nearly twenty percentage points from just a few years ago. Theories abound to explain this rise, but it is clear that employers of all types see experience as a key differentiator for new hires. 

This should be an eye-opener if you are involved in training next gen leaders. For anyone hoping their graduates land jobs beyond the entry-level, then this trend becomes even more important. There was a time when a college degree could virtually guarantee you a job. That age is gone. Nonprofit organizations and the business world alike have raised their expectations for the level of experience they are looking for in recent graduates. Thankfully, many churches and ministries have caught onto this and have begun offering internship, gap-year, and residency programs that grant academic credit while also giving their students real-world experience. 

Soft Skills Yield Tangible Results

As more and more young people head to college the marketplace value of a college degree has decreased. In 1970 approximately 11% of the US population had a college degree. Today, a generation later, that number has risen to 37%. The US Department of Labor notes that while most employers still require certain educational minimums, soft skills are what they are really focusing on in the hiring process. When candidates can demonstrate communication skills, the ability to work as part of a team, exercise critical thinking, and more, employers are much more likely to hire them. But emerging leaders will likely still need a college degree, so making sure your program offers degree pathways will also be important in positioning your graduates for success in the job market.

Ensuring your students can find meaningful employment means they have tangible opportunities to make an impact in the world. This will mean having a program that offers both real world experience and degree pathways, something the traditional university model cannot provide. From the students perspective, your program can become the difference-maker between whether they get that dream job or not. 

For over twenty years, Eleven:6 has been helping ministry leaders launch immersive training programs that can also earn students credit towards a degree. If you are working to make this transition, then schedule a call with us, today.