Do I need to be a Jack of All Trades to make it?

I have been thinking a lot lately about w

hether it is better to be extraordinary at just one thing, or good at a couple different things. Which one actually increases your chance of getting a job or being “successful”? Let me explain…

As my little sidebar says, I am currently a PhD student at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary in Chicago. I think that going to graduate school automatically leads someone to assume that I am trying to become an expert in one specific area. But I have recently noticed reality pushing me in the direction on whether being decent and informed about a couple of different things is in fact a better recipe for success than being great at one thing.

Of course, the ideal is to go to school and learn about theology, history, spiritual formation, etc., but the reality of the job market seems to be asking for way more. For example, grant writing and fund raising. On the professor track that I am currently on, I think the goal is that I go through all of this schooling to then finally be able to teach and write. However, most of the professors I know spend a small period of their time actually doing what they went to school to do. From what I’ve observed, a majority of their time is instead spent doing administration, serving on committees, and trying to raise money for projects. I think this is the same for clergy as well. When a student leaves seminary, they have been prepared for counseling, Bible interpretation, and preaching, but not so much about balancing budgets, applying for grants, or asking their congregants for tithes.

I’m not trying to say whether this is a bad or a good thing. Honestly, it’s just the way the world seems to work. Nevertheless, it has made me wonder if theological schools should start introducing how to write a grant or how pastors can introduce tithing into their church community.

What do you think? Should theological education keep to teaching what it has always taught or should schools start to introduce other aspects of job life to the curriculum?