29 June 2006

Young Clergy

THis week Religion and News Weekly will run a feature on the drop and loss of young clergy. I think the problem stems from a drop in college campus ministry by mainline congregations, no foolin'. I "heard" the call to ministry around my junior year of high school, but I know many who "heard" the call in college. I think an investment in youth ministry and campus ministry just may change things. I also think that northern mainline seminaries should actively recruit from the bible belt.

The church for me has been nothing but a blessing. A large ABC church in a subburb of Charleston took me in and made me one of their own. The church helped me out in college, seminary and licensed me. They wouldn't ordain me, but I don't blame 'em. The church in Athens gave me nothing but good feelings and now the church in Lincoln has done nothing but treat me right.

I think the life of the clergy is worth pursuing, you can actually make a difference in people's lives, you just have to some patience and a willingness to love.

Here is the front from R&NW:
Feature: Young Clergy Shortage
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

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