Volume 5 Number 1
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
It has finally happened. The predicted shortage of pastors for so-called "mainline churches" has come to pass, at least in the Presbyterian Church (USA). More pastors are retiring than candidates are entering pastoral ministry.
Our Placement Office, for example, reports that only two years ago there were two ministers seeking a call for every one opening. By this past May, the numbers were reversed. Today there are two open churches for every one pastor or ministerial candidate seeking a call.
We have been lulled into complacency in spite of the demographic predications, at least in part, by the fact that our ten Presbyterian seminaries are filled to capacity with promising students. What we have not noticed is that just over 50% of these students are Presbyterians and only half of our combined graduates enter pastoral ministry.
Clearly both the church and its theological schools must respond to this crisis in ministerial leadership for the future. Congregations need to become intentional about enlisting the brightest and the best among their members for the churchs ministry. Seminaries must become more intentional about lifting up the pastorate as what Calvin called the first office of the church and about preparing students to take up that challenge.
We who are presently privileged to serve Jesus Christ at Princeton Theological Seminary are committed to reversing this current trend.
Thomas W. Gillespie
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