Nobody likes to talk about it, but ageism is a significant problem in the church. The same battle women clergy have faced to gain respectability and access to employment is now being fought by men over 50.
A 57-year-old pastor with a record of significant growth was dropped from consideration by a search committee who reported that “the congregation expressed its wish for a youngish pastor with children still at home in order to draw people of the same age and life-stage.” He never made it to the first interview.
One church official confided that, in some circles, mature pastors are being encouraged to re-career rather than seek a new appointment.
Young pastors attract young families, so the thinking goes. They have more energy, fresher ideas, and are more likely to help the church grow.
Ironically, church may be the one institution where maturity is a handicap.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
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