Ministry comes with many weighty responsibilities. Ministry leaders are called to teach, serve, and lead. But in leading those under their care, there comes a moment when they recognize the future leaders under their leadership. With this recognition comes an all too familiar question: What comes next?
In Calling Out the Called, Scott Pace and Shane Pruitt answer this question by giving direction, encouragement, and a charge for ministry leaders to recognize the future leaders in their midst and do what needs to be done for the future of ministry: the calling out of the called.
Have you ever had a sinking feeling that there’s a bigger problem lurking around the corner? Maybe you’ve noticed drops of oil on your garage floor or a growing water stain on your ceiling. These scenarios are examples of small symptoms behind much larger problems. Whether they are the result of unintentional oversights or reveal negligence on our part, you can be certain that the cost and collateral damage will be far greater if you don’t confront the issue head-on. Read more
In many ways, we face a similar situation related to ministry leadership. There are concerning indicators that demand our attention. In 1992, Barna reported that the median age for protestant pastors was 44. Approximately one-third of pastors were under the age of 40 and over 75% of pastors were under the age of 55. Twenty-five years later in 2017 Barna revealed that the median age had increased to 54 with only 50% of pastors being younger than 55. Perhaps the most staggering number was the steep decline of pastors under the age of 40 that plummeted to less than 15%! As David Kinnaman, President of Barna Research, observed, these numbers represent a “substantial crisis” since “there are now more full-time senior pastors over the age 65 than under the age of 40.” 1
Although there are a variety of dynamics that contribute to these concerning trends, the combination of a reduced emphasis on ministerial calling and a corresponding lack of interest among younger believers are two of the primary factors. Supporting Barna’s results, Lifeway Research reported that 70% of pastors believe that young leaders view “other kinds of work” as more important than vocational ministry and 69% of pastors indicated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find mature young Christians who aspire to be in vocational ministry.2
These statistics go well beyond the caution level of oil drops and water stains. They are blaring alarms of the catastrophic consequences if we fail to address them with anything less than a zealous and concerted effort. In response to these alarming trends, Kinnaman concludes, “It is urgent that denominations, networks, and independent churches determine how to best motivate, mobilize, resource and deploy more younger pastors.”3 In other words, we must renew our commitment to passionately and persistently “call out the called”!