The Disappearance of Young Pastors

Last week I saw a link to Kate Shellnutt's article, "Only 1 in 7 Pastors is Under 40" appear on my social feeds a few times before I clicked through to read it and to learn about the latest research on the topic. The research was conducted by the Barna Group and Pepperdine University. It included 14,000 pastors. Findings include: Average Age of Protestant Senior Pastors 2017: 54 1992: 44 Young Senior Pastors  2017: Only 1 in 7 is under age 40 Getting Personal This topic Read More …

Too Many Clergy?

How many clergy are too many?  I don't have an answer, but do think the question is important to discuss at all levels of the church. I have heard from several colleagues and from members of search committees just how different the search process has become in recent years.  Perhaps this is why (or at least a part of the reason why): In the 1950s there were roughly the same number of ministers as there were U.S. churches. Now there are almost two ministers for every church, according to the Read More …

Churches Rely on Part-Time Clergy

While small Evangelical churches have long relied on unpaid (or very poorly paid) pastors, the same hasn't been true for small mainline congregations.  A recent article explores a trend: an increasing number of small and declining mainline congregations are opting for part-time pastoral leadership, and paying these clergy limited salaries or providing them no compensation. So What? According to Hartford Seminary's 2013 Faith Communities Today survey, mainline churches current salary Read More …

Pastors of Growing Churches

What do pastors of growing churches have in common? Cynthia Woolever finds three commonalities: Age.  While pastors of all ages shepherd growing churches, those in their 50s are most likely to do so. Career Path. Statistically first career pastors are more likely to lead a growing church than are second career pastors. Tenure.  Pastors with longer tenures are more likely to lead growing churches. So What? Reviewing the profile of pastors of growing churches the most likely person Read More …

Misusing Statistics

Ed Stetzer,  President of LifeWay Research, recently blogged about findings of research his organization conducted on how pastors use statistics in their ministries. The findings are based on a phone survey of over 1,000 pastors in late 2009. When these clergy were asked if Christians frequently misuse statistics to fit their own agenda, the vast majority (66%) responded affirmatively.  Stop and think about this statistic about the use of statistics.  According to 2 out of every 3 pastors Read More …

Associate Pastors & Technology

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recently released its first systematic look at associate pastors in an 88 page report "Associate Pastors in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)."  The comprehensive report is based on a 2011 survey of associate pastors and a 2008 & 2009 survey of key leaders. The survey found associate pastors spent an average of 11 hours a week "emailing, text messaging, or using the Internet" in their personal lives.  Professionally, these pastors used differing Read More …

Review of The Best of Will Willimon

Meet the Author Since 2004, William H. Willimon has served as  a Bishop in the United Methodist Church responsible for overseeing 57,000 members and 792 pastors in North Alabama.  Previously, he served for twenty years as Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University.  Willimon is the author of over sixty books including two best sellers: Sinning Like a Christian: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Thank God It’s Friday: Encountering the Seven Last Words from Read More …

What Pastors Believe

LifeWay Research released the results of their latest poll of Protestant pastors earlier this week.  The 1000 participants "overwhelmingly believe that God did not use evolution to create humans and think Adam and Eve were literal people."  More specifically, "I believe God used evolution to create people" - 73% of pastors disagree "I believe Adam and Eve were literal people" - 74% of pastors agree So What? Thankfully the article does note that this pastoral group's beliefs are more Read More …

Learning from Other Congregations

Warren Bird, Research Director for Leadership Network and co-author of 24 books on various aspects of church health and innovation, blogged about the feedback he received from a recent focus group of pastors who shared their "great ideas for great churches," which include: Gifts for first-time newcomers Partnering with the local YMCA Shaping the Culture of the City Intentionally Multi-Ethnic Churches Citywide Youth Group Planting Churches to Reach People Like You So Read More …