Posted by youngsbcpastor on August 15, 2008
I was reading THE Baptist Message back in June and came across a guest editorial by Mike Holloway, President of the Louisiana Baptist Convention http://www.baptistmessage.com/articledetail.php?articleID=6e840f6b3e7b8931a72f015bbfa1c7e1 You should really read this if you are interested in Southern Baptist ministry today. If you connect this statement of a pastor shortage in LA with the recent Lifeway Research article by Ed Stetzer http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/article_main_page/0%2C1703%2CA%25253D166925%252526M%25253D200906%2C00.html I believe this the first of many sympthoms of the growing pastor shortage.
The “Pastor Shortage” is coming upon the SBC like Y2K. You remember the days before Y2K when there were a lot of rumors and everyone was trying to stockpile water and getting wood fire places put in their houses. Nobody really understood Y2K, but everybody seemed to have an opinion about whether we were headed to the stone age overnight. It might be that by 2020 were heading back to the frontier days of traveling preachers, more lay-pastors and an entirely different idea of the qualifications and education of the local pastor. I need to come up with a quick little saying to describe this, maybe readers can help. What is as easy to say as Y2K but means, “If your church has less then 80 people actively attending you have a 50/50 chance of having a pastor.” I’m thinking PS20, but people might believe I’m talking about a really great playstation.
PS20 is the fact that nearly half our senior pastors are entering into the last 10 year of their ministry before retirement, and if the high stress of pastoring (and the normal life expectancy of Americans about 77) holds constant than about 25% of our current pastor will be in heaven in 2020. Over half of pastor are in their late 50 and 25% are in the late 60s. Most will either retire or “go on to be with the Lord” over the next ten years.
When I heard this news I thought, no big deal most SBC pastors go to seminary later in life, we are just an old denomination. But research shows we usually were kinda young. We are getting older and there are fewer young leaders staying in the ministry and in the SBC. PS20 means we start dying as a denomination. The LA Baptist Message article is especially disturbing. I have contacted the 12 churches without pastors mentioned, and basically with an SBC seminary, a SBC college, the state convention, and being the Bible belt on providing pastors, there is still a tremendous shortage….. If a church with all these resources available can’t find a pastor, what will the majority of our traditional, small (and getting smaller) rural and inner-city churches do?