Soccer and the Gospel
Good News, Good Jobs, and Good Works
By Kevin L. Hester
Welch College takes its mission to educate leaders to serve Christ, His Church, and His world very seriously. Everything we do at Welch College is geared toward preparing our students for a life of the mind, a life of service, and a life of fruitful Kingdom work in vocational fields from ministry to education and from healthcare to banking.
Apparently, our students have made this mission of service their own. In May 2017, Welch College surveyed its graduates from the last five years on employment, ministry, and service. A robust 12% response rate allows the College to feel very confident in generalizing the data from this survey. It also demonstrates several myths about a Bible college education.
One myth quickly dispelled by the survey was that Bible college graduates have a hard time finding a job. In actuality, 100% of respondents indicated they were employed, and 88% percent reported they were employed full time and working in the area of their undergraduate major. One hundred percent of respondents also reported their undergraduate major mostly or directly relates to their area of employment. These numbers are exceptionally strong considering the slow recovery of the job market in recent years.
Another myth is you can’t get a job outside of the church with a degree from a Bible college, or you at least won’t find a well-paying job. Again, the numbers tell a different story. While Welch College had numerous church vocations reported (pastoral ministry, youth and family ministry, and missions), other representative occupations included healthcare jobs like counseling and nursing, teaching occupations from elementary school to college, and jobs in recreation. Eighty-eight percent of the graduates (all the full-time employees) indicated starting salaries of at least $25,000 with 63% reporting salaries of greater than $35,000.
Not only are employers recognizing the quality of accredited Welch College degrees, so are our graduates. Whether they work in churches, for non-profits, or in the broader business world they all agreed that their education had prepared them well for their vocation. One hundred percent of those surveyed indicated their degree at Welch College prepared them well for ministry. Respondents also said their major had prepared them well for their vocation.
Another myth crushed by these numbers is that a Bible college degree will not allow you to get into a graduate program. Our graduates are prepared well and enabled by their accredited degrees to enter a number of quality graduate programs in different disciplines. In fact, 63% of those who responded to the survey indicated they had completed or were presently engaged in graduate studies.
As might be expected, Welch College graduates have learned the importance of the local church. One hundred percent of respondents indicated attendance at a local congregation. Seventy-five percent of respondents noted they were members or regular attenders. This compares to 27% of all millennials who regularly attend a place of worship.
Not only are our graduates attending churches, but they are also contributing members of their congregations. As part of a free-response question, our graduates listed the following church activities: preaching, teaching, children’s ministry, music, evangelism/outreach, and discipleship/mentoring. But graduates aren’t confining their service to the church. In addition, 63% of our graduates said they were actively engaged in community service with 25% reporting at least 3 hours a week and another 25% reporting an average of more than 8 hours of community service weekly.
It turns out a Welch College education not only prepares a student for ministry but for high quality employment in various vocational fields. Our graduates are working and serving in churches globally. Our graduates have learned the mission of the gospel reaches beyond the boundaries of a map or the walls of a church or business. The Kingdom of God is being built in our communities and around the world, and Welch College graduates are helping fulfill this task.
About the Writer : Dr. Kevin Hester is vice president for
institutional effectiveness and dean of the School of Theology at Welch College. To learn more about Welch College, visit