In a recent blog post, I wrote about the Great Resignation and the impact on the church. In that post, I noted that I would be writing more about the pastor and church staff shortage in a future post. Welcome to that post!
Many research organizations that study church trends are predicting a significant shortage of pastors in the near future. The retirement of Boomer pastors, the great resignation and the bleeding of pastors under age 50 from ministry are the major contributing factors to this.
We are likely at the beginning of the curve on the pastor and church staff shortage, meaning the worst is yet to come. The church in the United States is likely to face its greatest shortage of pastors in history. Churches are already struggling deeply to find pastors and church staff. Even with the increase in the number of churches closing and churches needing to have part-time or bi-vocational pastors, the shortage is expected to be significant.
This shortage does not even take into consideration the quality of pastors and church staff, their education or training. Much like the rest of the economy in the United States the church is facing a labor shortage. More troubling for the church is the tendency for churches to offer low compensation and benefits in work environments that are often unhealthy. Let us also not forget that ministry can be stressful work.
Seminaries are not growing;, in fact, many are experiencing the opposite. Seminary education has not kept up with ministry culture in the United States and it continues to be disproportionally expensive and inaccessible. Seminaries are less innovative even than the church at a time where seminary innovation is essential.
Now more than ever we need to care for our pastors and church staff. No more than ever we need to equip and raise up future pastors and church staff as well as lay leaders.
While the challenges we face are real, we also have reason for great hope. It is in our seasons of greatest challenge that our redemptive God goes to work. Any season of great challenge is a great opportunity, not only for solutions and health, but for revival as well.
We at Preparing for Amazement Ministries are deeply committed to helping pastors, church staff, lay leaders and churches be as healthy as possible and desire to walk alongside all leaders, current and future.
Rev. Dr. Marcus J. Carlson, Executive Director