Where do the next full-time workers come from?

Let’s talk future, as uncertain as we are about when the total New Creation of everything by our Lord begins. Who will succeed us with the shepherding care of the church?

Sobering stats: 85% of senior pastors are currently 40 years old or older. And 50% of senior pastors are currently 55 years old or older. Which means that in 10 years, 30% of pastors will be retirement age, and in 20 years, 85% of them.

Which search firm will handle this obvious challenge? Where are Vanderbloemen or Slingshot when we need them?!

We who love and shepherd (pastor) the church are the first search firm for sure. This has to be part of our informal job description: to help carry out the recruitment and encouragement of future church and missions staff and leaders. Chick-fil-a will recruit for their needs, and GM for GM. Church leaders must–strong word intentional –pray for and help in this future.

Momentum Ministry Partners, our sponsors here, have a vision to see 2500 full-time Christian workers called and equipped for ministries in the next 25 years. We would like to share that goal and privilege. See if our comments help a little.

Grateful to be in ministry,
Knute, Jeff, Jim

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Is it our responsibility to guide people this way?

Jeff Bogue

  • Absolutely!
  • We need to raise them.

Jim Brown

  • Yes, the local church should be the place where future workers are encouraged to step out for Jesus in ministry.
    As pastors we can see potential in our people and sit with them and express our desire for them to pray and seek the Lord in this area.
  • I am personally a pastor today because a man sat down with me at supper and said I should really consider full-time ministry. That one conversation changed the whole trajectory of my life.

  • Preach on calling and serving the Lord.

  • As you set goals for the year, embrace one that pushes for full-time ministry people being sent from

    your church.

  • Pray for workers to be sent out.

    Knute Larson

  • Surely not our total responsibility, but part of it. Who else will ever feel this or embrace the burden? We must keep it strong in our prayers and our strategy. Our schedules for sure.

  • Yes. It is not a stretch to say this is part of the Great Commission given to the disciples and to us by extension, as leaders of our Lord’s church. If fulfillment of that command is to make progress—and it is what we are about! – we must be sure strong and discipled leaders are continually coming to the table.

    If we do not care for this, who will? If not now, when?

  • Some of us – I think of others and myself—have reacted to an early church experience that included many end-of-sermon calls to “give your life to full-time ministry – who will come today?” And then the revival of the practical doctrine of the priesthood of all believers took some of the focus away, or replaced it with helping all believers live out their vocations in their places of work, “as Jesus did in the carpenter shop.”

    Both are needed.

    How much of it is one on one?

    Jeff Bogue

  • A bunch of it is one on one, but a lot of it is giving vision to young people – that this is a worthy life investment.

Jim Brown

  • Whatever it takes to encourage the process, then do it.

  • Bring your wife into this process to help shape how it impacts the family unit.

  • Set time aside regularly to pour into potential ministry-minded people.

  • Develop a mentoring ministry for prospective candidates.

    Knute Larson

  • Some. Half? Surely the follow-up of any interest shown in larger gatherings or in age-level ministries must be one-on-one. COVID halted a lot of one-on-one meetings, but so did the teachings of some pastoral teachers and mentors. Add to that subversive list the neglect by many of the strong and small true discipleship-accountability groups of all women and all males. And the result is as obvious as the solution: back to one-on-one and deliberate discipleship.

  • Hopefully a lot of one-on-one is happening in homes with parents who share the desire of God for everyone to be a witness and for some to embrace vocational ministry of the gospel.

  • And by staff and volunteers of the church who teach youth and young adult age groups. Part of their “ministry descriptions” should be to disciple and even to steer toward vocational ministry when possible.

    How do we help parents nurture their children this way?

    Jeff Bogue

  • Help the parents understand the certainty of their children’s callings. If they can be called to be a doctor or an engineer, they can be called into ministry.

  • Help parents to understand the security of the calling. This is a real job and can be a real career.

  • Talk about the statistics: 85% of all present pastors will be of retirement age in 25 years, 50% of them

    will be of retirement age in ten years.

    Jim Brown

  • Create ministry opportunities for parents and children to do together.

  • Encourage short-term missions trips.

  • Create outreach events that the family can do together.

  • Place in the hands of parents resources that talk about serving the Lord.

  • Remind people while preaching that we are God’s “A-Plan” for ministry and reaching the lost in the world.

  • Have systems in place and on-ramps of training to prepare the children for ministry.

  • Unashamedly preach the importance of being sent out.

    Knute Larson

  • Pray that they will be willing to influence and pray for their children to consider and choose vocational ministry. Every parent knows how hard it is to think of your children moving to another location, which often happens in ministry work.

  • Urge them to talk and their pastors in positive ways! Perhaps any church strife should not be part of the menu at the supper table. From a human viewpoint, why would some kids want to go into ministry if all they heard were negatives from their own parents.

  • Pray for families and this part of their influence regularly in your personal and staff prayer times.

  • Be sure it gets into the Sunday and home groups that have questions to be discussed. Some may not think of it on their own.

    Pastorpedia is a resource provided to you by Momentum Ministry Partners. Please contact us at info@buildmomentum.org or 574.267.6622 if we may be of any help to you or your ministry!

    Jeff Bogue, Lead Pastor of Grace Church, and also, President of Momentum Ministry Partners; Jim Brown, Lead Pastor of Grace Community Church in Goshen, Indiana; and Knute Larson, a coach of pastors, who previously led The Chapel in Akron for 26 years. Pastorpedia is brought to you by Momentum Ministry Partners. Visit our website for more resources and to learn more about how we aim to partner with the local church.