Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Attract" Young Clergy?

In a post called “Attract” young clergy? Andrew Conard of Thoughts of Resurrection responds to this article on attracting young clergy for The United Methodist Church.

What do you think?


Pastor Barbara said...

Hey, Allen! Thanks for pointing me toward a couple of terrific blogs. Your comment about attracting young clergy/young members/young families, etc. as a solution to all our denomination's problems is well-taken. Because this strategy of "attracting" a different demographic doesn't get at the critical question of what, exactly, it is we are attracting them to.

My DS, Gary, sent his regular email reflection yesterday, and he shared a comment he heard recently from Gil Rendle: "For the 21st century church there are only two choices--deep change or slow death." And then Gary asks us, "What are we so afraid of losing that we would rather rather choose to die?"

I know that there are folks in the church I'm serving that would choose slow death over deep change. And I don't think the antidote is necessarily younger clergy, as incredibly inspiring as many of them are. The fact is that young clergy will eventually (God willing) become old clergy. The key is deep change within the local church. And that is so difficult to lead, no matter what your age.

It does seem that for quite a while God was calling a whole lot of middle-aged, second career folks into Methodist ministry. That may be changing now. But all of us, no matter our age, are called to radical openness to the movement of the Spirit, and to ministries of truth-telling in our churches.

And we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!


Allen Ewing-Merrill said...

Amen! Thanks for sharing these insights!

I do think our denomination should be concerned about the scarcity of young clergy -- not because young clergy are inherently better or more desirable than older clergy, but primarily because it parallels and signals the absence of young adults in most of our churches. And lack of young people in a church is a sign that slow death is in progress...