3 Reasons Why the Preacher Population Is Shrinking and What to Do About It

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by gb93433, May 2, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    3 Reasons Why the Preacher Population Is Shrinking and What to Do About It
    Ben Mandrell

    Here I sit, nestled in an ultra-hip chair at a West Tennessee Starbucks. Over a steaming cup of bold coffee, I fire questions at Andy, a 21-year-old college student who takes pride in his rugged, half-shaved face. I pick this young man's brain because he is one who is jealous for my job; he aspires to the office of senior pastor. Not a youth pastor, or children's pastor or college pastor—though each of those is a high and worthy calling—Andy is one who ultimately wants to feed and lead a local church. This guy intrigues me because his breed is becoming so scarce.

    A Theology and Missions major at Union University, Andy shares his innermost thoughts with me, and I find my spirit lifted by his passion for the body of Christ, his fierce commitment to preach the Word and his humble love for all types of people. Andy's got the goods. He is going to lead a great church in the future, and I feel burdened to do everything in my power to help him get there.

    The rest of the story is at http://www.sermoncentral.com/pastor...dium=email&utm_campaign=BetterPreachingUpdate
     
  2. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good share. Thought-provoking.
     
  3. Siberian

    Siberian
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought there was a ministry glut these days...
     
  4. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,263
    Likes Received:
    64
    Yeah. We got dozens of resumes when we were between pastors.
    But they were older guys.

    This addresses the "new crop" of preachers. It is certainly a calling.
    We need to pray that God will call more men into the pastoral ministry.
     
  5. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    I don't know if we're facing a shortage of pastors...honestly I think of the major evangelical seminaries and see brimming enrolments. They can't provide enough housing in some cases.

    The way that vocational ministry is evolving there are more options than senior pastor and I know plenty of people who are perfectly well called to fill spaces of associate pastor positions.

    As for the article, I agree that these are three of the major reasons we don't see a lot of men stepping into senior pastoral roles.

    I think fear is the biggest one.

    Fear of failure, fear of being fired, fear of not being maintaining a standard of living, fear of being called to a struggling church, fear of only pastoring "little" churches, etc.

    It is interesting to consider, of the guys I went to seminary with how many of them have left ministry...how many of them left in the first 10 years. I remember one of the guys I sat in Greek with for two years. He had all the gifts it would seem. But about three years after we graduated I ran into him a conference and after catching up he let me know he was leaving ministry to go work as a manager in a factory. The reason was the church he ended up in after seminary had just eaten him alive (and he was the youth guy) and the senior pastor was driving him into the ground. It just wasn't worth it for him anymore. The passion was gone in his eyes...a really sad moment...

    That's a snapshot. How many more stories like that are out there.
     
  6. Crucified in Christ

    Crucified in Christ
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    369
    Likes Received:
    0
    There definitely is a drop in young men entering the ministry on a per capita basis (I saw the numbers once). I have often wondered if the rise in bi-vocational ministry is causing this shift.

    As more and more pastors are forced into dual-careers, more people are not interested in hearing the call. It would seem to me, if this is the case, that they had no business in the ministry in the first place. A man who will only pastor when it is easy is certainly no pastor at all!

    Only time will tell if what is dropping the numbers is a weeding out of hirelings.
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,926
    Likes Received:
    95
    I say, if its a calling then do it for free. Lets see how many continue to heed the call after that.
     
  8. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    I believe that if we keep our eyes on making disciples then it does not matter if we pastor because we are pastoring in a real way by making disciples. It is not contingent upon if we are pastoring a church in an official capacity. There are many good men who are run out of churches because they stand for what is right.

    I worked for a man who did not pastor but made disciples for many years until the day he died. There were about 1,200 at his funeral and for three hours person after person talked about how they are living for Christ because of him. There were an incredible number who could not make it to the funeral because they on the mission filed or pastoring a church some where around the world. I am one who had the privilege of living in his home for one year before I got married. Not only was he my employer but he was an example to me too. His example sticks with me to this day in so many decisions I make. I think too often we discount the incredible impact that a layman living for Jesus can have on a community. During his funeral the city officials came and listened for three hours. One of the local businesses closed down during the funeral. The gosple was prpoclaimed and non-Christians from so many people about how they came to Christ. At the time there were about 600 people attending the church.
     
  9. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,926
    Likes Received:
    95
    Thats a cool story GB....thanks:thumbsup:
     
  10. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    We are seeing a rise in the number of "Pink-Slip callings," where men say they are called at the same time they have been downsized or laid off. Overall however, there is a concern about the clergy shortage. Churches are only getting a fraction of the resumes they got 25 years ago for their vacancies. Go to any ministerial gathering and you'll see an awful lot of white hair.
     
  11. Havensdad

    Havensdad
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,382
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wish the crowd would thin a little more! Seriously, I am trying to find a place of full time service, and every church I have approached have received a hundred or more resumes.

    As far as the "older guys," that is little surprise to me. I have been told that I am "too young" (I'm 35!), and no one is willing to call someone who does not have 10+ years of senior pastor experience. Little wonder that young guys are scared to jump in the ring...the church has stacked the deck against them!
     
  12. Havensdad

    Havensdad
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,382
    Likes Received:
    0
    Except that pastors and their families need to eat. And the church is already starved of Biblical teaching. The Bible commands support for ministers; the good ones work HARD. I know the Senior pastor over me, is the hardest working, most godly man I have ever known. He certainly does not do it for the money, but he MORE than deserves what he gets.

    I and my family have been struggling, financially, for the 3 +years I have been in ministry. I went from a 6 figure income (willingly, not fired), to the poverty level. God always provides, and I certainly don't do it for the money. But it sure hurts when the church holds an emergency business meeting to approve a thousand dollars for a remodeled kitchen, but can't give you a couple of hundred dollars a month raise...
     
  13. StefanM

    StefanM
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    6,423
    Likes Received:
    72
    It seems that things will "work themselves out," so to speak.

    Many churches are heavily populated with senior adults. Unless things change, the younger generations do not appear to be replenishing the church rolls enough to offset the upcoming loss of senior adults. This is going to create major financial implications. Many churches will die or downsize. The younger generations that do go to church will tend to find larger churches with greater resources more appealing. Many of the church positions that exist now simply will not exist in the future.
     
  14. tank1976

    tank1976
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am in the same boat! It becomes difficult to keep going at times.
     
  15. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does all this make my gray hair a shoe in? I started out in ministry at 18 as a student pastor.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  16. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,926
    Likes Received:
    95
    you are a smart boy......consider a secular job while you practice your profession as a pastor. I saw this 1st hand with my brother....to the point in later years they had no savings for their children struggling through college. I gave the family a home & he is prospering now working for a hospital in IT. These are lean times.....try to adapt & persevere.

    god bless you ...I will pray for you.
     
  17. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,263
    Likes Received:
    64
    Wow. Everybody told us that we needed a young Pastor---40 tops, but God gave us a man who was 61 at the time. After his being with us for 2 years, I still have no doubts he is God's man.

    I once heard Jack Trieber say that people turned him down over and over because they thought he was too young to pastor a church until he met the pulpit committee of the church he has now. Jack recounted that he told the pulpit committee that he was still young and knew that it would be a concern to which one of the pulpit committee members said something to the effect of "we don't care WHAT your age is; if you are God's man, then we want you."

    I don't know if you have any experience as an associate pastor, but I think that people have to know you. We called our former pastor at the age of 29, but the church new him (his father used to be the pastor 15 years beforehand and they new what they were getting). I don't know if you can be an associate someplace where the Pastor is getting up in age and you throw your hat in the ring when he dies? I don't know. Don't take my advise; talk to God.

    I just know this: from watching how churches work for the past 10 years, I know that churches call people they either know or someone they know well can vouch for them. It sounds bad, but it is what it is. All I know is that I want God's man as a Pastor.
     
  18. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    In evangelical churches, particularly in the south, there is an overabundance of men applying for positions. We recently put out an offering for a ministerial position and got over 200 resumes. About half were not what we were looking for, about a quarter were not good resumes (how many times can you misspell certain terms), and the other quarter were good and we worked through them. The process, thankfully staff led, took about 6 months and we had a new associate minister who is doing great.

    One of the problems with a lot of churches is that it is a group of well intentioned lay people who have, honestly, little clue about what they need to be doing. I get calls to consult often, and when I do I usually ask for a primary staff contact to lead the process. It is far more effective this way.

    When I was in seminary I got this a lot. I stopped applying for church positions through traditional means. It is beyond frustrating and the process various vastly from one church to the next. The biggest issue many replied was that they were looking for someone with 3-5 years of experience, or more...but nobody wanted to give you 3-5 years of experience.

    Honestly I stopped looking and took up another job for a while. Then I began to go an visit DOMs for associations in our area. That helped a TON, it gave me connections (which means more than resume anyways) and they encouraged me to do internships...which I did...and before you knew it I had three churches talking to me at once.

    Again I just don't see the pastor shortage. Really I don't. I do see a lot of burnout for guys in ministry. Anytime we hire a new staff member we intentionally pursue someone under 35 years old (unless the position is obviously not for that age group) and passion means more than experience.
     
  19. Havensdad

    Havensdad
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,382
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, but this is not an option for me at the moment. Possibly in a few months, after I am done with my current degree, I may work in addition to ministry work, if necessary.

    As far as the "children in college" thing...no offense, but to me that whole mindset is nothing but rank materialism. I have no intention on coddling my children and paying their way through college. I may help, a bit, but I expect them to work hard and make it on their own. If they don't want to have to work their way through college, then they need to bust their bottom through school, to get a scholarship. Time and again I see the unbelievable destruction of the "I am going to pay for my kid till he's 25" mentality, on individual character. I think it is detrimental to them in the long run.
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,926
    Likes Received:
    95
    Did you ever get any help with college or are you self made?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Loading...