Saturday, July 01, 2006

Young Minister Shortage

Here's a good article about the change in pastoral leadership. Used to, a lot of young folks pursued ministry. Today, older folks are choosing ministry as a second career. As a result, the pulpit itself is getting older and the churches are losing out on the vitality of young men and women.

There are many reasons for this shift, this article focuses on a few of them:

Only about five percent of mainline Protestant pastors are under the age of 35 -- a dramatic drop from 20 years ago. And less than half of the students graduating from seminaries actually choose work in parish ministry. Instead, they pursue careers in social services, chaplaincy or teaching. Why are young people shying away from this vocation and how are Protestant denominations addressing the need for youth in the pulpit? Judy Valente looks at the reasons for the declining numbers of young clergy across mainline Protestant denominations and what church leaders are doing to reverse this trend.

According to Maxine Beach, dean of Drew University School of Theology, "A lot of young 20-year-olds really believe that they can make more of a difference someplace else -- that churches have become comfortable, they've become places interested in their own survival. And a lot of 20 to 25-year-olds, 30-year-old people, do not want to buy into that dynamic. They want a place where they believe that Jesus can be real and new."

You can read the whole story here.

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