Recently the Presbyterian Church tried to address the issue of health care. Basically, they wanted to start charging a higher percentage to families than to pastors without families. (Note a higher percentage, so the families were already paying more)….This is an issue because we try to do something we term “Call Neutrality” which is the idea that we pay everyone a living wage (so we have minimum’s) so pastors can be free to go to the church that best fits
People freaked out (including me)
This raised a whole lot of issues, which are really the issue.
1. Ministry jobs are hard to find. In PCUSA the stats are 3 pastors for every job out there.
2. Most ministry jobs aren’t fulltime anymore
3. Benefits aren’t that generous
4. The Economy is hard–and if your married your spouse needs a job
5. Most ministries are shorter–7 years is the reported average of a ministry, which is way different than the 30yrs that used to be expected
6. Pastors are younger and churches are older…I’m the youngest person at all of my churches by at least 12 years………talk about generational divide
7. The call process is long and hard
8. Call Neutrality is a myth. Young pastors go to small/poor/rural churches, women even moreso. Women get less paying jobs and are more often associates. Children “do” influence a church’s decision to get a pastor even though they are theoretically neutral
Ok, so here are the real issues, on the table
Now how does a call to ministry need to transform?
We talk about how churches need to change, maybe we need to start working on what a pastorate is
Can we be MORE supportive of part time ministries?
Can we try other models of ministry (more part time ministries)?
Can we work more with all of those ministers who are called to specialized (i.e. untraditional ministries)?
Can the call process be more open or more streamlined?
Are there ways to support small churches doing searches in meaningful ways?
Can we work to get older pastors and young family pastors the stability they need?
Here are the real issues, lets get to it…