Friday, October 28, 2005

why young pastors are leaving the ministry

Originally uploaded by Peter de Krom.

young pastors (less than five years in the ministry) are leaving in droves. according to nakedreligion blog the lily foundation has poured millions of dollars into "sustaining pastoral ministry" initiatives and it's too soon to tell if whether or not their approach is working. other than the obvious reasons pastors leave, this article shares the top 10 reasons young pastors leave the ministry.


At 7:26 AM, Blogger Jason Snook said...

This phenomenon has interested me for quite some time. I've actually been studying and observing it on a little bit wider scope, looking at professional ministers/staffers (not necessarily ordained pastors) in general.

Number 1 is huge and several others after that point to what JR has called in the past "expectation management". This is why, when you read the Gospels, we see Jesus go to such pains to paint a very realistic picture for his followers of what ministry really looks like. We can't be naive about what it will take to bring the kingdom into the world.

I also resonate with young pastors going insane in old churches. Again, Jesus said that you can't pour new wine in old wineskins. That's why the Emergent Church Movement must be tied to an effective church planting strategy.

This is my first post but I've been a long time reader. Great blog JR!

At 12:25 PM, Blogger J.R. Woodward said...


Thanks a lot for your thoughts. We will have to connect sometime. Send me an e-mail with your current phone number. Peace.

At 8:36 PM, Blogger water from stone said...

The Kingdom is here. THE KINGDOM IS HERE!!! but where are the servants. the harvest is plenty but the workers are few. where are the workers. who are they working for if not the King. where is the Church? is it down the street or in this home and that with ties of love and encouragement flowing through their conversations as they seek one God. is the man in ireland touching on the same truths as the child in kansas? are we singing a new song to the Lord or to the congregation? are we acting out the role or allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate our actions? can we 'bring' the Kingdom to this earth aside from seeking the will of God in our lives... can we perfect ourselves?

i would say a large contribution to the flux in the current church is the inconsistencies in leadership. by seeking the next best thing we acquire such publications as 'the message' or 'the purpose driven live' or 'celebration of the disciplines' (which since the original 1975 publication has been edited)... are we seeking a biblical perspective, or man's perspective.

by evangelising with the tactics of the world, we appeal to worldly desires... look at most youth programs, and emerging church services. what is the ratio of service projects to creative and educational prgrams? what percentage of the Christian's time is spent reading the bible vs. books about the bible.

I contend that we are raising up believers in man's perspective, we are fostering a generation who lack a foundation built on Christ. For this reason we see them fall in the storms. Their perspective is wrong, and thereby their desires and passion are wrong and the desires they seek to fill are not satisfied by ministry...

another thought to the matter is our definition of ministry - are we truly ministering to the people of the world?

is the current structure of ministry fullfilling God given desire to touch lives? are we misleading the correct desires of a Spirit led believer down wrong paths? and in this are they denying what they inherently subconciously sense and know is wrong... could this be why they are leaving leaving the 'churches'? what i long to know is where these young men and women are going? are they working at kinkos? to pay for their cell phone and mocha latte's or are they seeking the true Church beyong the walls of man's creation?

i contend that we are all ministers. and that the responsibilites that come along with being a teacher are great. if our pastors and teachers are not built up on the solid foundation of scripture, they are bound to fall... it is not an epidemic but rather a sign of the times...

i must leave this current umbrella of wireless for the coffee shop is closing so i will post what i've written thus far... and throw it away... for there is so much more to live for than my thesis of a moment ago. blessings to you JR, keep leading your flock into true ministry for THE KINGDOM IS HERE!!!

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot speak for everybody, but I can speak for myself. I am leaving the ministry, and theology, for a variety of reasons. However, I think one of the major componants is a lack of realism in both the church and theology. For instance, as many young pastors, like myself, leave the church, there is a tendency to moral rebuke on those people, as if they just really didn't have "the call"--or respond with spiritual discipline--not considering the fact that the theology of the "the call" and "spiritual discipline" may indeed be part of the problem. For one, on the side of lay persons, it requires that the pastor some how appear closer to God, beyond human, willing to do anything for God and for neighbor, without any self interest. In relation to the hierarchical structures in the church (such as the UMC) it allows clergy and other higher ups (DS, Bishops) to over theologize their pastors, expecting that they should give everything for the church of God and focus on growing that very church beyond all things. Thus the human side of pastors gets overlooked--and, as we should all know, they are nothing but human. Theology ends up trumping reality, and the real practical everyday life issues are seen as taboo for pastors to deal with.


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