Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shortage of Young Ministers

The Fund for Theological Education recently announced that it will be giving away grants to local churches that motivate young Christians to enter into ordained ministry.

This was motivated by a shortage of new ministers to take the places of an aging ministry force.

All denominations and ministries are acknowledging this shortfall. There are fewer seminary students seeking a career as senior or associate pastor. Many of those who graduate with advanced degrees do not plan to work in the local church.

Why this shortage? Has God stopped calling? Is God not aware of the need? How many young ministers have you seen leave the church in recent years? Pastor, how many young ministers are following in your footsteps?

Could it be that there is too much negativity around pastoring today? Has there been a loss of respect for clergy? That has changed considerably over the last 40 years. Parishioners pick on pastors, denominational leadership drives pastors, the media crucifies pastors, and the public has a distrust for pastors. In short, it is open season on pastors.

Could it be that few pastors and churches are emphasizing the Call? When was the last time you heard a plea for young people to be sensitive to the Call of God to full-time ministry?

Could it be that the church does not meet the needs of pastors? How many pastor's children turn bitter against the church due to the way their parents were treated? Pastors give and give until they are empty? Who pours into them?

May God help us to regain a respect for ministry, and treat pastors with love and respect. When the next generation sees this turnaround, maybe they will be more sensitive to God's Call and more willing to answer.

Can you think of more reasons for this shortage? Click "comments" below.

Without A Vision ...

[by Bill Reichart]

Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint (Proverbs 29:18).

Without vision: family members eat separately in their own rooms; churches argue; companies only have employees.

"Without vision, people will define their own vision and the loudest voice will prevail."

Vision unifies us around a preferred future; a future that can’t be accomplished by yourself.

Great leaders cast a clear, concise and compelling vision.

"If your vision doesn't scare you, then both your vision and your God are too small."

For vision to to motivate it must connect on 3 levels:

1) Mind-to-Mind – Vision is strategic. While your vision may be, as Jim Collins says, "big, hairy and audacious," people have to believe that it is attainable. When you connect, it becomes “OUR PLAN” and people give their resources.

2) Heart to Heart – Vision is passionate. When people see you, they see, feel and taste the vision. It becomes something you were created for and are willing to die for. When youconnect, it becomes “OUR DESIRE” and people give their life.

3) Soul-to-Soul – Vision is personal. It comes from God but it permeates your life. A calling. A confidence that IT will be accomplished. When you connect, it becomes “OUR CALLING” and people take responsibility.

Winston Churchill believed that leadership's foundation was vision. He had five tools he used when he got ready to communicate vision. Here they are:






And take this poem by Sir Francis Drake to heart:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.