Archives For Ministry

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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Is it possible to survive in pastoral ministry without being a kind of celebrity? Mark Driscoll, who has held both roles for a several years, says just the opposite. For him, the two are incompatible.

Crowd cheering - their rock idol or simply having fun in a club

He is right, of course. Pressure to live up to this insane expectation is the primary reason clergy are dropping like flies from pastoral ministry. It’s time we divorced the ideas of celebrity and spiritual shepherd once and for all.

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