Eden Theological Seminary Seeks Vice President of Advancement



Eden Theological Seminary is seeking a Vice President of Advancement, with an ideal starting date in the spring of 2019. The new vice president will have an opportunity to assist the Seminary in implementing a new strategic plan that seeks to establish Eden as an innovative leader within the ecumenical and progressive Christian movement in the United States and abroad.

Eden’s strategic plan flows from its mission and vision statements and sets a strategic direction for the school.

Mission Statement.  “Eden Theological Seminary is called to strengthen the life of the church by educating women and men for ministry, enlivening critical reflection on faith, and supporting bold Christian discipleship.”

Vision Statement. “Eden Theological Seminary will be recognized as an ecumenical educational center for the progressive Christian movement.”

Strategic Direction. “Eden Seminary will be a catalyst for building, encouraging and communicating hope for the now and future church by taking to scale select programs that lead to measurable transformation of local congregations, institutions and the wider communities they serve. The programs will include clergy education, scholarship for the church, and a robust set of expanded educational programs.”

As a progressive Christian seminary, Eden is deeply committed to the church-both as it is and as it should be—and seeks to use critical reflection to reinterpret its traditions in more just and fitting ways for changing times. It is committed to social justice and change and approaches other religions and cultures with an irenic spirit of openness. At the same time, it focuses on Christian theology and practice as central to its mission and heritage, utilizing an approach that is non-sectarian, critical, and intellectually honest. It strongly rejects the impulse to exclude on the basis of race, ethnicity, class gender, or sexual orientation.

Eden has 12 full-time faculty, including the president and dean of the seminary.  It enrolls a diverse student body of 150 plus. The Seminary offers the following degrees:

  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.) is the prerequisite degree in many Christian denominations for ordination. This professional degree integrates rigorous academic work with participation in and reflection upon the practice of ministry in their denomination.
  • Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) focuses on the biblical, historical and theological foundations of Christian faith. Students in this degree program focus on academic work and engage in faculty directed scholarly research.
  • Master of Arts in Professional Studies (M.A.P.S.) focuses on theological reflection for the practice of ministry. This is a degree for persons who choose to serve as lay, diaconal or recognized ministers in a specialized form of ministry.
  • Master of Community Leadership (M.C.L.) an intensive fourteen-month degree that focuses on leadership for not-for-profit organizations and integrates practical learning, business education and theological reflection.
  • Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) is an advanced degree for people with at least three years experience in ministry after receiving the M.Div. degree. This degree provides an opportunity for continued theological study and disciplined reflection on the practice of ministry.
  • Dual Degree Program (M.Div. or M.A.P.S./M.S.W.) is designed for students to earn both a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Professional Studies degree from Eden Theological Seminary and Master of Social Work degree from George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Eden Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is also approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church for the training of United Methodist students.

Eden’s annual budget is $4.5 million, and its total giving from all sources is about $2.5 million. Its annual fund is about $725,000 per year and is almost evenly divided between gifts from individuals and congregations.


The Vice President of Advancement reports directly to the President and is responsible for planning and managing all aspects of the Seminary’s fund-raising and constituent development. The Vice President of Advancement is specifically responsible for the following:

  • Serves on the president’s administrative team with the dean of the seminary and chief financial officer and provides staff support to the Board of Directors for fundraising and constituent development.
  • Supervises five direct-reports including donor relations, scholarship administration, communications, church relations, gift accounting, and support services.
  • Works with the president, director of communications, and board of trustees to develop the Seminary’s “brand” and coordinate the telling of the Seminary’s “story” to al constituency groups.
  • Coordinates and implements a comprehensive development plan, including annual and long-range fundraising goals, administration of a development budget, management of all data bases, oversight of a planned-giving program, the implementation of restricted gifts, and the recruitment of volunteers.
  • Pays special attention to the growth of the annual fund through both individual and congregational giving and the utilization of board members to increase the donor base in the St. Louis area and beyond.
  • Provides leadership and day-to-day management of the development staff by providing on-going training, setting annual and long-term financial and performance goals for individuals and programs, developing up-to-date job descriptions, and conducting regular performance evaluations.
  • Evaluates and implements a coordinated plan for sending receipts, acknowledging and reporting of gifts, and maintaining a comprehensive and accurate system of data collection and utilization.
  • Assists the president in coordinating development contacts, preparing/developing donors for the president’s call and “ask,” and strategizing for the best use of his fundraising activities.


The successful candidate for this position will have the following experience:

  • Successful track record asking for and securing large and small gifts; managing complex development operations that includes grant writing, data management, and capital campaigns; and involving other key Seminary leaders, especially the president and board members, in fundraising activities.
  • An understanding of mainline Protestant church life and a willingness to commit to Eden Seminary’s progressive religious identify and mission.
  • Experience with institutional “branding” and the ability to develop in cooperation with others a comprehensive marketing plan to support the Seminary’s institutional advancement program.
  • Strategic leadership qualities, including the ability to see the big picture, design creative and complex strategies for achieving advancement goals, and motivate others to strive for excellence in their work.
  • Highly effective verbal and written communication skills for conveying to staff, volunteers, and other Seminary personnel how the advancement program contributes to Eden’s objectives, and to potential; or current donors how the Seminary serves the broader community.
  • A collaborative working style that recognizes the importance of team work and delegates significant responsibilities to team members.
  • Sophisticated relationship-building skills that develop lifelong connections for the Seminary, build strong team loyalty, and bring into the advancement process a broad constituency of students, faculty, staff, and board members.


Compensation will be based on the candidate’s experience and credentials. The benefit package is comprehensive and attractive, including health and life insurance, short/long term disability, a pension plan, a flex-plan that covers medical and dependent care expenses, and tuition remission benefits. Relocation costs and assistance to the St. Louis area will be provided.


This position is designed for an energetic and creative advancement professional interested in managing an expanding and maturing development operation to serve the needs of an innovative, forward-looking Seminary that aspires to become the recognized leader in training ordained and lay persons for service in the progressive Christian movement. The next Vice President of Advancement can expect the following challenges and opportunities:

  • Help implement a daring new strategic plan. Thanks to the current economic crisis for the majority of religious seminaries in the US, all theological schools are under significant stress. This is especially true in those schools with small endowments, lagging development programs, and an insufficient support base. At a time when numerous schools are worried about ability to survive, Eden has developed an exciting new strategic plan that intends to expand its already strong academic program by adding new programs, cooperating with the UCC and other mainline denominations in developing new multiple paths of preparation for ordination, and starting new programs of non-degree theological education in order to provide training for lay leaders at a scale unknown before. These are bold goals that will require a well-thought out development strategy to achieve. The new vice president will be challenged to support a program that seeks to take a radically different approach to theological education.
  • Develop a new donor base. The Seminary’s donor base is aging, which requires the development of a significant number of new donors for the future. Generational differences in philanthropic giving require new approaches. The strategic plan intends to generate new donors through its expanded and innovative programs that reach new lay constituencies by serving the needs of a progressive Christian movement that is currently under stress because of loss of morale and membership. The new vice president must be able to take an active and aggressive lead in such new donor development by utilizing the Seminary’s mission.
  • Expand levels of participation in advancement. A successful advancement program involves more than the development staff. It includes a broadening base of participation by trustees, Seminary personnel (administrators, faculty, and students), and other stakeholders. The next Vice President will have an opportunity to develop such fundraising participation in creative and productive ways.
  • Support the advancement staff. The advancement staff is deeply committed to the mission of the Seminary and meeting fundraising goals. The next vice president must be able to mobilize the staff to work together in new ways by enhancing communication, setting clear-cut goals, providing regular performance evaluation, and delegating responsibility. Key to future success is helping staff members see how their work fits into the “big picture,” how the parts contribute to the whole.


Nominations and applications will be held in confidence. Applications should include a letter outlining the applicant’s background, qualifications and vision for the position: curriculum vita/resume: and contact information for five professional references. References will not be contacted without the prior approval of the applicant. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Submit all applications electronically to Ms. Danita Carter, Executive Assistant to the President at: [email protected].

Eden Theological Seminary is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, marital status, national origin, disability or veteran status.

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