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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Dave Likeness on August 06, 2021, 02:55:09 PM

Title: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Dave Likeness on August 06, 2021, 02:55:09 PM
In the past 14 years church worker recruitment has declined:

1. Our 2 seminaries have experienced a combined decrease of 55% of those
enrolled in the Master of Divinity degree.

2. There has been a 59% decrease in our pre-seminary Concordia University
System enrollment.

3. There has been a 61% decrease  in our Lutheran teaching program enrollment.

To counteract these trends the LCMS National Convention in 2019 embarked on an
aggressive , comprehensive Church Worker Recruitment Initiative. (CWRI)   It will
focus on A) children through 6th grade  B) 7th and 8th grade  C) High School students

Plans are being made to create resources and start the initiative throughout the LCMS
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Dan Fienen on August 06, 2021, 03:11:54 PM
I'm curious, how are recruitment levels for church workers in the ELCA? If they are not experiencing the decline that the LCMS is, what are they doing differently?
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Charles Austin on August 06, 2021, 03:30:25 PM
In 2008, the ELCA seminaries graduated 271 with M.Div. Degrees.
In 2016, the ELCA seminaries graduated 173 with M.Div. Degrees.

https://www.livinglutheran.org/2017/02/seminary-status-check/



Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Matt Hummel on August 06, 2021, 04:07:55 PM
In 2008, the ELCA seminaries graduated 271 with M.Div. Degrees.
In 2016, the ELCA seminaries graduated 173 with M.Div. Degrees.

https://www.livinglutheran.org/2017/02/seminary-status-check/

It would be a 35% decrease in 8 years.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: John_Hannah on August 06, 2021, 04:10:20 PM
The decline of seminary candidates (and church workers in general) is commensurate with the decline of congregations. We Lutherans-all-are losing our appeal. Sad and unfortunate, but true.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Dan Fienen on August 06, 2021, 04:13:44 PM
I am not especially good at statistical analysis but the figures that Charles gave represented a 36% percent decrease over 8 years for the ELCA in graduations with an M.Div. Dave put the LCMS decrease in enrollment in the M.Div. program at 55% over a 14 year period. The time periods are not the same, neither exactly is what was being measured, but by my memo pad calculations, those figures are likely comparable within an order of magnitude.


When we deal with the statistics of our church bodies, growth/decline, diversity, etc., the LCMS and ELCA are experiencing similar levels of success (well, decline actually) during the new millennium. Little basis for bragging rights. Drat, I was hoping that the ELCA has some silver bullet to counteract the decline in church worker enrollment that maybe we could learn from.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: D. Engebretson on August 06, 2021, 05:38:57 PM
Regarding the decreases: Is there not some correspondence with a general decrease in births within either denomination? Perhaps. However, this cannot explain it all as the seminaries below demonstrate with respect to their own denominations.

According to the Association of Theological Schools, seven seminaries "have generated enrollment growth consecutively over at least the past five years," which "saw total student headcount increase by 43.5 percent over five years." Those would be:
Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky (independent evangelical seminary in the Wesleyan tradition)
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO (Southern Baptist)
Northern Seminary in Lisle, Illinois (American Baptist Churches, USA)
Shepherds Theological Seminary in Cary, North Carolina (nondenominational with independent Baptist roots)
Sioux Falls Seminary in South Dakota (North American Baptist Conference)
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky (Southern Baptist)
Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa (ELCA)

According to an online article from In Trust Center for Theological Schools, "None of these seminaries attracted their students from a “growing” denomination. In fact, five are affiliated with denominations that saw membership declines over the past five years. One is affiliated with a denomination that reports stable membership, and one is independent."

"What did they do that enabled the growth? What common characteristics do they have? Interviews with presidents and chief admissions officers explored the reasons for growth.

What they have in common, seminary leaders stressed, is disciplined and focused development of strengths and a 'niche,' and not on copying other seminaries. All stressed the importance of serving the church by training pastors and leaders for the local congregations. Beyond that, seven other common characteristics emerged."

1. Strong, Engaged President
2. Active, Scholarly Faculty
3. Innovative Programs
4. Emphasis on Spiritual Grown and Discipleship
5. Professional Admissions Strategy
6. Doctrinal Foundations
7. Affordability

I'm not sure how our LCMS schools, seminaries in particular, fare compared to these seven schools. We certainly have doctrinal foundations. I would like to think Dr. Rast is a "strong, engaged president," and that the newest president at St. Louis will prove to be one as well.

The article concludes with these thoughts:
Everyone agreed that there is no one “silver bullet” to make a seminary grow. It has to result from a team effort involving the trustees, president, administrators, and support staff. Sioux Falls’ Henson sums it up this way: “If there’s anything we’ve done that has helped our growth, it is making theological education affordable, accessible and relevant while remaining faithful to Jesus Christ. You can apply those practices to any school.” 

https://intrust.org/Magazine/Issues/Summer-2021/What-makes-seminaries-grow (https://intrust.org/Magazine/Issues/Summer-2021/What-makes-seminaries-grow)

Affordable and accessible seems to be key.  I realize the first one is difficult for denomination-based schools if the donor base is not sufficient to infuse enough money to effectively reduce cost, although I know that our seminaries in the LCMS have come quite a ways toward reducing tuition. CTS-FW recently reorganized its D.Min degree to make is shorter and more affordable, and I hope that it attracts more pastors as a result.  If I was younger I would be tempted to enroll.  They also introduced a new Ph.D program in theological studies that bears watching to see if it, too, attracts more pastors.

Accessible is an area that I know our universities have worked on, and I know that Concordia - St. Paul, for which I taught one course in 2020, launched a number of online offerings around that time. It may be an area where our seminaries will also need to take some leadership as well.  The SMP program, for which I have taught the last five summers, is almost entirely online.  I have no idea if it means anything overall, but my class size has increased considerably the last two years compared to the first three.  With the pandemic pushing us to embrace more online options, this may be a large part of the future of our schools. 

In the LCMS I know we have some good, quality schools, both undergraduate and graduate.  I hope that they grow stronger in the coming years despite overall declines in the denomination's numbers.




Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Charles Austin on August 06, 2021, 06:18:34 PM
On almost all statistical measurements, the ELCA and LC-MS have been in parallel, that is, almost equal decline in recent decades. My former synod has closed or put in hospice care almost 20 percent of its congregations in the last 20 years.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: aletheist on August 06, 2021, 08:07:01 PM
I am not especially good at statistical analysis but the figures that Charles gave represented a 36% percent decrease over 8 years for the ELCA in graduations with an M.Div. Dave put the LCMS decrease in enrollment in the M.Div. program at 55% over a 14 year period. The time periods are not the same, neither exactly is what was being measured, but by my memo pad calculations, those figures are likely comparable within an order of magnitude.
They actually correspond to the very same 5.5% average annual rate of decline.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on August 06, 2021, 10:07:22 PM
I love the Lutheran Church. During my service as a pastor, I have experienced the very best and the very worst of my church. Given that, I'm not shocked by the decline nor am I ultimately distressed about the future.

I pray that you focus on Christ and outward to your local community. That is the future. God bless.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: PrTim15 on August 07, 2021, 12:34:55 AM
If you always do what you always done, you always get what you always got.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Steven W Bohler on August 07, 2021, 07:24:53 AM
If you always do what you always done, you always get what you always got.

Not true.  If a football team had the ball, first and goal from the 2-yard line, and ran it three downs in a row, there is no guarantee that they would fail on fourth-and-one. That's why they run the play.  If a fellow asked a girl out on a date and she rejected him, does that mean he will never ask her again?  If my wife corrects one of her students repeatedly for the same error, does that mean she should stop because she has not succeeded in correcting it?  Of course not.  Circumstances change.  People change.  So sometimes, if you do what you always have done, you will get a different result. 
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Dave Benke on August 07, 2021, 08:45:56 AM
I had a long conversation with a young pastor from the conservative Presbyterian denomination yesterday.  Several switches flipped on for me.  In their way of local church,
a) church planting is part of the training at the seminary, so pastors are always at the same time mission developers and are seen as such by the congregation
b) churches automatically include a portion of their budget for local church planting/mission development locally.  Of course there's world mission as well, but there is a local mission budget allotment
c) those positions and that desire are inclusive of community outreach as well, so the Call of a pastor is not only to those already assembled, but to empower and accompany the local congregation in its work
d) All of this is more than catechetics once people arrive.  It's in the fabric of the tasks of the congregation.

So this young pastor is in a bilingual Korean congregation - first language Korean, second language English.  Yet only 40% of the membership is Korean.  30% Chinese, 20% other Asian and 10% other.  I found all of that refreshing and evidence of how other cultures inside the same denominational framework bring renewed zeal for more globally diverse purpose in local mission.

If those attitudes were captured both in congregations and in training modes, I think recruitment for church vocation would be on the rise.  Denominational and institutional survival purposes are less substantial reasons for vocational renewal.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Terry W Culler on August 07, 2021, 08:55:01 AM
I spoke with a local PCA pastor recently.  He told me they actually have an excess of men on their clergy roster--I think the number was something like 2400 men on the roster and 1700 congregations.  He said if they announce a new church plant they'll get 40 or 50 people interested in serving there.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: peter_speckhard on August 07, 2021, 09:36:42 AM
I spoke with a local PCA pastor recently.  He told me they actually have an excess of men on their clergy roster--I think the number was something like 2400 men on the roster and 1700 congregations.  He said if they announce a new church plant they'll get 40 or 50 people interested in serving there.
Does all this vibrant church planting mean the PCA is growing and leading the way with sustainable local missions. If so, the few Presbyterian churches I have any familiarity with hide it well.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: PrTim15 on August 07, 2021, 09:47:07 AM
Seminaries have made no changes in recruiting strategies in over 30 years.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Steven W Bohler on August 07, 2021, 10:22:49 AM
Seminaries have made no changes in recruiting strategies in over 30 years.

What do you propose they do instead?
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Charles Austin on August 07, 2021, 10:30:56 AM
Seminaries do not recruit students. Churches do. Pastors do. Sunday school teachers do. Synods and districts do.
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, every Synod had a “church vocations committee“ whose job was to present young people with the opportunities where they might serve in full-time ministry, whether as Pastor, Christian education specialist or missionary.
Also, vibrant youth groups, such as Luther League did the same.
The question of whether I might consider whether I had a call to ordained ministry came to me through Luther league, through my pastors, and through my synod. Then, those same agencies helped assess whether I had the proper skills or aptitudes for one seeking ordination.
Of course, in those days, no one had to wonder whether there would be a church available for them to serve following their graduation and ordination. We had more “potential job security“ than almost anyone else in graduate study.

Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: peter_speckhard on August 07, 2021, 10:38:57 AM
Seminaries do not recruit students. Churches do. Pastors do. Sunday school teachers do. Synods and districts do.
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, every Synod had a “church vocations committee“ whose job was to present young people with the opportunities where they might serve in full-time ministry, whether as Pastor, Christian education specialist or missionary.
Also, vibrant youth groups, such as Luther League did the same.
The question of whether I might consider whether I had a call to ordained ministry came to me through Luther league, through my pastors, and through my synod. Then, those same agencies helped assess whether I had the proper skills or aptitudes for one seeking ordination.
Of course, in those days, no one had to wonder whether there would be a church available for them to serve following their graduation and ordination. We had more “potential job security“ than almost anyone else in graduate study.
I agree with this. Seminaries only actually recruit from the pool of people who already have decided to go to seminary and just need to know where or how. Creating that pool is not the seminaries’ job. They do help by offering retreats and what-not for high school and college kids, but they need pastors and congregations to supply them with prospects.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Steven W Bohler on August 07, 2021, 10:39:32 AM
Seminaries do not recruit students. Churches do. Pastors do. Sunday school teachers do. Synods and districts do.
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, every Synod had a “church vocations committee“ whose job was to present young people with the opportunities where they might serve in full-time ministry, whether as Pastor, Christian education specialist or missionary.
Also, vibrant youth groups, such as Luther League did the same.
The question of whether I might consider whether I had a call to ordained ministry came to me through Luther league, through my pastors, and through my synod. Then, those same agencies helped assess whether I had the proper skills or aptitudes for one seeking ordination.
Of course, in those days, no one had to wonder whether there would be a church available for them to serve following their graduation and ordination. We had more “potential job security“ than almost anyone else in graduate study.

So, are you agreeing or disagreeing with PrTim15?  Are you saying that synods ARE still doing those same things as back in your day?  And that they should continue?  Or are you saying synods no longer do these things?  And, if so, are you saying they should go back to them?  Or something else?  And if something else, then what?
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 07, 2021, 11:17:24 AM
If you always do what you always done, you always get what you always got.

Not true.  If a football team had the ball, first and goal from the 2-yard line, and ran it three downs in a row, there is no guarantee that they would fail on fourth-and-one. That's why they run the play.  If a fellow asked a girl out on a date and she rejected him, does that mean he will never ask her again?  If my wife corrects one of her students repeatedly for the same error, does that mean she should stop because she has not succeeded in correcting it?  Of course not.  Circumstances change.  People change.  So sometimes, if you do what you always have done, you will get a different result.


The bold faced words indicate that one is not doing exactly the same as they have always done.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Randy Bosch on August 07, 2021, 11:19:05 AM
The structure of Seminary recruiting is that congregations and pastors do their recruiting for the Seminary, identifying young men who were perceived to be good candidates for beginning ministry training.  This occurred both to encourage the pursuit of post-secondary education and second career matriculation.

The method was a kind of either 'both/and' or 'chicken/egg thing'.  That is how Seminaries recruited and apparently still recruit new students.

Also, the congregation of my youth+ had a Valpo Sunday, sponsored by Valpo grads in the congregation and, if I recall correctly, often having an actual, official Valpo representative giving a Chapel Talk during the service.  I cannot immediately recollect whether or not a representative of one of the Seminaries talked to the assembled congregation from time to time.

The congregation also, as a body, often elected to provide some funding via Budget allocation for Seminary tuition - almost always when a 'son of the congregation' enrolled, but at other times as well.  Individual members also provided funding outside of the Budget when moved to do so by the Holy Spirit.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 07, 2021, 11:22:08 AM
Seminaries can make it easier for students to attend. We went to Wartburg Seminary (out of 3.5 ALC seminaries) because Wartburg guaranteed married student housing. The others offered to help us find housing. In recent years, I think our Union Seminary is offering tuition-free seminary education.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Randy Bosch on August 07, 2021, 11:23:33 AM
If you always do what you always done, you always get what you always got.

Not true.  If a football team had the ball, first and goal from the 2-yard line, and ran it three downs in a row, there is no guarantee that they would fail on fourth-and-one. That's why they run the play.  If a fellow asked a girl out on a date and she rejected him, does that mean he will never ask her again?  If my wife corrects one of her students repeatedly for the same error, does that mean she should stop because she has not succeeded in correcting it?  Of course not.  Circumstances change.  People change.  So sometimes, if you do what you always have done, you will get a different result.


The bold faced words indicate that one is not doing exactly the same as they have always done.

You appear to be confusing efforts with results.  Keep driving through that intersection as you always had with no stop sign, even though a stop sign has recently been installed.  You do exactly the same as you have always done, but the patrol officer (or child in the crosswalk) is not amused.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Steven W Bohler on August 07, 2021, 11:42:11 AM
If you always do what you always done, you always get what you always got.

Not true.  If a football team had the ball, first and goal from the 2-yard line, and ran it three downs in a row, there is no guarantee that they would fail on fourth-and-one. That's why they run the play.  If a fellow asked a girl out on a date and she rejected him, does that mean he will never ask her again?  If my wife corrects one of her students repeatedly for the same error, does that mean she should stop because she has not succeeded in correcting it?  Of course not.  Circumstances change.  People change.  So sometimes, if you do what you always have done, you will get a different result.


The bold faced words indicate that one is not doing exactly the same as they have always done.

Wrong.  People and circumstances change, but not the actions -- that is, WHAT those people did in those circumstances. Which is what PrTim15 has criticized.

By the way, I am assuming the "old" way must have worked or it would have been abandoned back then (and as numbers/statistics from seminaries then show, and as Rev. Austin suggests).  So, PrTim15 is incorrect that "If you always do what you always done, you always get what you always got" -- that is, it apparently was at least somewhat successful then but not now (at least that is the argument, as I understand it).  If we got what we always got, then we would be at least somewhat successful now too.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on August 07, 2021, 12:04:11 PM
Seminaries have made no changes in recruiting strategies in over 30 years.

What do you propose they do instead?

I might propose a special preaching tour for recruiters to travel and visit congregations, preach about the call to ministry, and meet with congregations about understanding the qualities of a pastor and encouraging people to pray about ministry. That would stir the congregations and assist them in their local recruiting efforts. Pastors/congregations could enroll for the visit.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Charles Austin on August 07, 2021, 12:30:51 PM
Pastor Bohler.
So, are you agreeing or disagreeing with PrTim15?  Are you saying that synods ARE still doing those same things as back in your day?  And that they should continue?  Or are you saying synods no longer do these things?  And, if so, are you saying they should go back to them?  Or something else?  And if something else, then what?
Me:
Today, I do not know what very many synods are doing. Back then a church vocations  unit was a normal part of Synod structure.
Today, if I were to fret and worry, it would have more to do with who gets out of seminary into the ordained ministry than how to get people in.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Terry W Culler on August 07, 2021, 12:59:31 PM
The AFLC has a new committee that is traveling to different districts doing presentations which it is hoped will encourage people to consider the seminary.  But we are also speaking to people about serving as lay pastors (I know, so don't try to convince me we're wrong) in some of our smaller congregations, especially in the rural Midwest.  If the lay pastors follow the study guidelines they will have completed seminary requirements in 10 years.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: pearson on August 07, 2021, 01:18:40 PM

The AFLC has a new committee that is traveling to different districts doing presentations which it is hoped will encourage people to consider the seminary.  But we are also speaking to people about serving as lay pastors (I know, so don't try to convince me we're wrong) in some of our smaller congregations, especially in the rural Midwest.  If the lay pastors follow the study guidelines they will have completed seminary requirements in 10 years.


If they will have completed seminary requirements in 10 years, why not just ordain them?

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 07, 2021, 04:00:30 PM
I'm curious, how are recruitment levels for church workers in the ELCA? If they are not experiencing the decline that the LCMS is, what are they doing differently?

Ordaining women. And LGBTQ candidates.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Dan Fienen on August 07, 2021, 04:11:41 PM
I'm curious, how are recruitment levels for church workers in the ELCA? If they are not experiencing the decline that the LCMS is, what are they doing differently?

Ordaining women. And LGBTQ candidates.


Does that mean that the enrollment/graduation levels (pastoral track) in the ELCA has not declined as much as they have in the LCMS?


I am not especially good at statistical analysis but the figures that Charles gave represented a 36% percent decrease over 8 years for the ELCA in graduations with an M.Div. Dave put the LCMS decrease in enrollment in the M.Div. program at 55% over a 14 year period. The time periods are not the same, neither exactly is what was being measured, but by my memo pad calculations, those figures are likely comparable within an order of magnitude.When we deal with the statistics of our church bodies, growth/decline, diversity, etc., the LCMS and ELCA are experiencing similar levels of success (well, decline actually) during the new millennium. Little basis for bragging rights. Drat, I was hoping that the ELCA has some silver bullet to counteract the decline in church worker enrollment that maybe we could learn from.
On almost all statistical measurements, the ELCA and LC-MS have been in parallel, that is, almost equal decline in recent decades. My former synod has closed or put in hospice care almost 20 percent of its congregations in the last 20 years.
I am not especially good at statistical analysis but the figures that Charles gave represented a 36% percent decrease over 8 years for the ELCA in graduations with an M.Div. Dave put the LCMS decrease in enrollment in the M.Div. program at 55% over a 14 year period. The time periods are not the same, neither exactly is what was being measured, but by my memo pad calculations, those figures are likely comparable within an order of magnitude.
They actually correspond to the very same 5.5% average annual rate of decline.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 07, 2021, 04:12:42 PM
Apparently not, from the statistics cited above. It means the ELCA pool is bigger and the catch is smaller.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Dan Fienen on August 07, 2021, 04:48:40 PM
Apparently not, from the statistics cited above. It means the ELCA pool is bigger and the catch is smaller.
So, apparently ordaining women and members of the LGBTQA+ community has not improved the rate of recruitment. There may be other reasons for the ordination of women and members of the LGBTQA+ community, but recruitment does not seem to be one.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 07, 2021, 05:44:35 PM
If you always do what you always done, you always get what you always got.

Not true.  If a football team had the ball, first and goal from the 2-yard line, and ran it three downs in a row, there is no guarantee that they would fail on fourth-and-one. That's why they run the play.  If a fellow asked a girl out on a date and she rejected him, does that mean he will never ask her again?  If my wife corrects one of her students repeatedly for the same error, does that mean she should stop because she has not succeeded in correcting it?  Of course not.  Circumstances change.  People change.  So sometimes, if you do what you always have done, you will get a different result.


The bold faced words indicate that one is not doing exactly the same as they have always done.

You appear to be confusing efforts with results.  Keep driving through that intersection as you always had with no stop sign, even though a stop sign has recently been installed.  You do exactly the same as you have always done, but the patrol officer (or child in the crosswalk) is not amused.


I would say that the installation of the stop sign changes things. One was not driving through a stop sign before. Now he is. That's something different.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Charles Austin on August 07, 2021, 07:50:50 PM
Pastor Fienen:
There may be other reasons for the ordination of women and members of the LGBTQA+ community, but recruitment does not seem to be one.
Me:
Yes, there are. And I’m trying not to be incredulous or insulted that you think such an action would be taken for “recruitment.” Really!?
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Terry W Culler on August 07, 2021, 08:14:54 PM

The AFLC has a new committee that is traveling to different districts doing presentations which it is hoped will encourage people to consider the seminary.  But we are also speaking to people about serving as lay pastors (I know, so don't try to convince me we're wrong) in some of our smaller congregations, especially in the rural Midwest.  If the lay pastors follow the study guidelines they will have completed seminary requirements in 10 years.


Because they still must meet the academic requirements before being ordained.  If they skip those requirements they won't be.  However, the local congregation could ordain them in place.  They would not be able to move to another church nor would they be listed on the ordained clergy roster.

If they will have completed seminary requirements in 10 years, why not just ordain them?

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on August 07, 2021, 08:59:32 PM
Apparently not, from the statistics cited above. It means the ELCA pool is bigger and the catch is smaller.
So, apparently ordaining women and members of the LGBTQA+ community has not improved the rate of recruitment. There may be other reasons for the ordination of women and members of the LGBTQA+ community, but recruitment does not seem to be one.

These are interesting observations. Thank you.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Dan Fienen on August 07, 2021, 10:42:10 PM
Pastor Fienen:
There may be other reasons for the ordination of women and members of the LGBTQA+ community, but recruitment does not seem to be one.
Me:
Yes, there are. And I’m trying not to be incredulous or insulted that you think such an action would be taken for “recruitment.” Really!?


Apparently not, from the statistics cited above. It means the ELCA pool is bigger and the catch is smaller.
So, apparently ordaining women and members of the LGBTQA+ community has not improved the rate of recruitment. There may be other reasons for the ordination of women and members of the LGBTQA+ community, but recruitment does not seem to be one.
The context of my offensive post was a discussion of recruitment and Pr. Johnson's response to my question of what the ELCA does differently.  But I understand,  you are ever quick to call insult at the observations of others, and be insulted when your oh so gentle pokes and prods are not treated as welcome corrections.


I'm curious, how are recruitment levels for church workers in the ELCA? If they are not experiencing the decline that the LCMS is, what are they doing differently?

Ordaining women. And LGBTQ candidates.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Charles Austin on August 08, 2021, 03:21:21 AM
No, Pastor Fienen, it's just than anyone with two brain cells to rub together knew in advance that ordaining women and the decisions of 2009 would cost us members and among some of us would hurt recruitment of new pastors.  We did think that we would benefit from the women who sought ordination, and we did. We did know that some in the gay and lesbian community who might otherwise go elsewhere to serve might come to us, but not in huge numbers. This turned out to be true.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on August 08, 2021, 08:24:49 AM
No, Pastor Fienen, it's just than anyone with two brain cells to rub together...

You knew it couldn't !ast.  🙄
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: PrTim15 on August 08, 2021, 08:31:50 AM
I’m celebrating 30 year as of ordination this summer so i suppose I can only speak to how I was recruited and how our congregation has raised up Pastors. I was recruited by attending Concordia St. Paul, we visited sem on a bus and went down and checked it out. We had 30 some men who then matriculated to the seminary after graduation at CSP.

Whoever wrote that recruitment comes from the local is right, we have raised up at least 6 men for pastoral ministry in the LCMS and at least another 4 for other traditions. Our congregation loves her pastors, respects, them compensates them and holds to high standards. Each student was unique and the recruitment process at seminary was minimal at best.

BTW When was the last time we highlighted anything positive about pastors serving in congregations in the Reporter or Lutheran Witness?  Also I do understand the analogies you used and they are fine, but every analogy breaks down, and the football analogy breaks down when you are scouted by your opponent, he sees you tendencies and stuffs your three straight runs into the center of the line. You have to switch it up when on the grid iron.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Charles Austin on August 08, 2021, 09:42:13 AM
The late, great,  Dr. Franklin Clark Fry was asked if he was proud that he had sent a number of men into the ministry.
“I’m prouder,” he is reported as saying, “that I kept a number of men out.”
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Steven W Bohler on August 08, 2021, 10:03:48 AM
I’m celebrating 30 year as of ordination this summer so i suppose I can only speak to how I was recruited and how our congregation has raised up Pastors. I was recruited by attending Concordia St. Paul, we visited sem on a bus and went down and checked it out. We had 30 some men who then matriculated to the seminary after graduation at CSP.

Whoever wrote that recruitment comes from the local is right, we have raised up at least 6 men for pastoral ministry in the LCMS and at least another 4 for other traditions. Our congregation loves her pastors, respects, them compensates them and holds to high standards. Each student was unique and the recruitment process at seminary was minimal at best.

BTW When was the last time we highlighted anything positive about pastors serving in congregations in the Reporter or Lutheran Witness?  Also I do understand the analogies you used and they are fine, but every analogy breaks down, and the football analogy breaks down when you are scouted by your opponent, he sees you tendencies and stuffs your three straight runs into the center of the line. You have to switch it up when on the grid iron.

I agree -- we do not do a very good of promoting the "average" pastor in our publications.  And it does not help when leaders have derisively spoken of things like "mere maintenance ministry".  The not-so-subtle message is that men serving in such places are somehow less than they should be.  God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.  But, like the Jews in our recent Gospel lessons, we crave something else.  Something more "exciting".
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Terry W Culler on August 08, 2021, 02:53:57 PM
I have thought God has kept me in small parishes because He knew I needed the humility that comes from serving a small group of people in a rural congregation.  Had I been called to serve a large congregation I might have thought it was about me and my skill rather than about Jesus and His work on our behalf.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: D. Engebretson on August 08, 2021, 05:15:30 PM
I’m celebrating 30 year as of ordination this summer so i suppose I can only speak to how I was recruited and how our congregation has raised up Pastors. I was recruited by attending Concordia St. Paul, we visited sem on a bus and went down and checked it out. We had 30 some men who then matriculated to the seminary after graduation at CSP.

Whoever wrote that recruitment comes from the local is right, we have raised up at least 6 men for pastoral ministry in the LCMS and at least another 4 for other traditions. Our congregation loves her pastors, respects, them compensates them and holds to high standards. Each student was unique and the recruitment process at seminary was minimal at best.

BTW When was the last time we highlighted anything positive about pastors serving in congregations in the Reporter or Lutheran Witness?  Also I do understand the analogies you used and they are fine, but every analogy breaks down, and the football analogy breaks down when you are scouted by your opponent, he sees you tendencies and stuffs your three straight runs into the center of the line. You have to switch it up when on the grid iron.

I agree -- we do not do a very good of promoting the "average" pastor in our publications.  And it does not help when leaders have derisively spoken of things like "mere maintenance ministry".  The not-so-subtle message is that men serving in such places are somehow less than they should be.  God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.  But, like the Jews in our recent Gospel lessons, we crave something else.  Something more "exciting".

Thank you.  I needed to hear that.  Today's attendance was abysmal. Felt like we regressed back to last year when we first opened up after the COVID lock down. Not sure where a lot of the people were who normally would be here.  But days like that get to you.  You begin the question the usefulness of it. We crave success and outward progress.  Slogging through the mundane wears on you.  But your words drive home the reason many of us mount our pulpits Sunday in and Sunday out in our little obscure corners of the world:
God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 08, 2021, 06:48:25 PM
I’m celebrating 30 year as of ordination this summer so i suppose I can only speak to how I was recruited and how our congregation has raised up Pastors. I was recruited by attending Concordia St. Paul, we visited sem on a bus and went down and checked it out. We had 30 some men who then matriculated to the seminary after graduation at CSP.

Whoever wrote that recruitment comes from the local is right, we have raised up at least 6 men for pastoral ministry in the LCMS and at least another 4 for other traditions. Our congregation loves her pastors, respects, them compensates them and holds to high standards. Each student was unique and the recruitment process at seminary was minimal at best.

BTW When was the last time we highlighted anything positive about pastors serving in congregations in the Reporter or Lutheran Witness?  Also I do understand the analogies you used and they are fine, but every analogy breaks down, and the football analogy breaks down when you are scouted by your opponent, he sees you tendencies and stuffs your three straight runs into the center of the line. You have to switch it up when on the grid iron.

I agree -- we do not do a very good of promoting the "average" pastor in our publications.  And it does not help when leaders have derisively spoken of things like "mere maintenance ministry".  The not-so-subtle message is that men serving in such places are somehow less than they should be.  God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.  But, like the Jews in our recent Gospel lessons, we crave something else.  Something more "exciting".

Thank you.  I needed to hear that.  Today's attendance was abysmal. Felt like we regressed back to last year when we first opened up after the COVID lock down. Not sure where a lot of the people were who normally would be here.  But days like that get to you.  You begin the question the usefulness of it. We crave success and outward progress.  Slogging through the mundane wears on you.  But your words drive home the reason many of us mount our pulpits Sunday in and Sunday out in our little obscure corners of the world:
God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.


Pretty much what I wrote in my "notes" on John 6:51-58: God takes what is sinful and evil and turns it into something good and salvific. God does it with ordinary bread and wine and mundane actions of chewing and drinking and swallowing. They bring God's salvation to us. If God can do that, then maybe God can also use ordinary and mundane people (like us) to bring Christ’s saving presence to a sinful world.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Steven W Bohler on August 08, 2021, 07:42:35 PM
I’m celebrating 30 year as of ordination this summer so i suppose I can only speak to how I was recruited and how our congregation has raised up Pastors. I was recruited by attending Concordia St. Paul, we visited sem on a bus and went down and checked it out. We had 30 some men who then matriculated to the seminary after graduation at CSP.

Whoever wrote that recruitment comes from the local is right, we have raised up at least 6 men for pastoral ministry in the LCMS and at least another 4 for other traditions. Our congregation loves her pastors, respects, them compensates them and holds to high standards. Each student was unique and the recruitment process at seminary was minimal at best.

BTW When was the last time we highlighted anything positive about pastors serving in congregations in the Reporter or Lutheran Witness?  Also I do understand the analogies you used and they are fine, but every analogy breaks down, and the football analogy breaks down when you are scouted by your opponent, he sees you tendencies and stuffs your three straight runs into the center of the line. You have to switch it up when on the grid iron.

I agree -- we do not do a very good of promoting the "average" pastor in our publications.  And it does not help when leaders have derisively spoken of things like "mere maintenance ministry".  The not-so-subtle message is that men serving in such places are somehow less than they should be.  God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.  But, like the Jews in our recent Gospel lessons, we crave something else.  Something more "exciting".

Thank you.  I needed to hear that.  Today's attendance was abysmal. Felt like we regressed back to last year when we first opened up after the COVID lock down. Not sure where a lot of the people were who normally would be here.  But days like that get to you.  You begin the question the usefulness of it. We crave success and outward progress.  Slogging through the mundane wears on you.  But your words drive home the reason many of us mount our pulpits Sunday in and Sunday out in our little obscure corners of the world:
God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.


Pretty much what I wrote in my "notes" on John 6:51-58: God takes what is sinful and evil and turns it into something good and salvific. God does it with ordinary bread and wine and mundane actions of chewing and drinking and swallowing. They bring God's salvation to us. If God can do that, then maybe God can also use ordinary and mundane people (like us) to bring Christ’s saving presence to a sinful world.

Um, so bread and wine, chewing and drinking and swallowing are "sinful and evil"?  No, that is NOT pretty much what I wrote. 
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: PrTim15 on August 08, 2021, 10:01:13 PM
Great Commentary Pastor Bohler, there’s no average pastor who has served through the Pandemic. Now our generation has led through the “Great Recession” and the Great Pandemic. I’m not sure what a pastor who hasn’t led through a parish through those two events has to say to any pastor with courage in his heart and fatigue in his eyes. All that we have done while our institutions are dying and our leadership is doing something else all together. Thank God for our colleagues and brother pastors who are gutting it out right now. Maybe the younger guys will see the sacrifices made by their home pastors and seek to do a “noble task.”
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 09, 2021, 01:25:16 AM
I’m celebrating 30 year as of ordination this summer so i suppose I can only speak to how I was recruited and how our congregation has raised up Pastors. I was recruited by attending Concordia St. Paul, we visited sem on a bus and went down and checked it out. We had 30 some men who then matriculated to the seminary after graduation at CSP.

Whoever wrote that recruitment comes from the local is right, we have raised up at least 6 men for pastoral ministry in the LCMS and at least another 4 for other traditions. Our congregation loves her pastors, respects, them compensates them and holds to high standards. Each student was unique and the recruitment process at seminary was minimal at best.

BTW When was the last time we highlighted anything positive about pastors serving in congregations in the Reporter or Lutheran Witness?  Also I do understand the analogies you used and they are fine, but every analogy breaks down, and the football analogy breaks down when you are scouted by your opponent, he sees you tendencies and stuffs your three straight runs into the center of the line. You have to switch it up when on the grid iron.

I agree -- we do not do a very good of promoting the "average" pastor in our publications.  And it does not help when leaders have derisively spoken of things like "mere maintenance ministry".  The not-so-subtle message is that men serving in such places are somehow less than they should be.  God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.  But, like the Jews in our recent Gospel lessons, we crave something else.  Something more "exciting".

Thank you.  I needed to hear that.  Today's attendance was abysmal. Felt like we regressed back to last year when we first opened up after the COVID lock down. Not sure where a lot of the people were who normally would be here.  But days like that get to you.  You begin the question the usefulness of it. We crave success and outward progress.  Slogging through the mundane wears on you.  But your words drive home the reason many of us mount our pulpits Sunday in and Sunday out in our little obscure corners of the world:
God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.


Pretty much what I wrote in my "notes" on John 6:51-58: God takes what is sinful and evil and turns it into something good and salvific. God does it with ordinary bread and wine and mundane actions of chewing and drinking and swallowing. They bring God's salvation to us. If God can do that, then maybe God can also use ordinary and mundane people (like us) to bring Christ’s saving presence to a sinful world.

Um, so bread and wine, chewing and drinking and swallowing are "sinful and evil"?  No, that is NOT pretty much what I wrote.


I called them "ordinary" and "mundane actions." We don't have to use specialized wafers that neither look nor taste like ordinary bread. We don't have to let flour and water melt in our mouth (as one lady was taught). We can chew the bread (that should look like a loaf of bread.)
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Steven W Bohler on August 09, 2021, 07:45:22 AM
I’m celebrating 30 year as of ordination this summer so i suppose I can only speak to how I was recruited and how our congregation has raised up Pastors. I was recruited by attending Concordia St. Paul, we visited sem on a bus and went down and checked it out. We had 30 some men who then matriculated to the seminary after graduation at CSP.

Whoever wrote that recruitment comes from the local is right, we have raised up at least 6 men for pastoral ministry in the LCMS and at least another 4 for other traditions. Our congregation loves her pastors, respects, them compensates them and holds to high standards. Each student was unique and the recruitment process at seminary was minimal at best.

BTW When was the last time we highlighted anything positive about pastors serving in congregations in the Reporter or Lutheran Witness?  Also I do understand the analogies you used and they are fine, but every analogy breaks down, and the football analogy breaks down when you are scouted by your opponent, he sees you tendencies and stuffs your three straight runs into the center of the line. You have to switch it up when on the grid iron.

I agree -- we do not do a very good of promoting the "average" pastor in our publications.  And it does not help when leaders have derisively spoken of things like "mere maintenance ministry".  The not-so-subtle message is that men serving in such places are somehow less than they should be.  God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.  But, like the Jews in our recent Gospel lessons, we crave something else.  Something more "exciting".

Thank you.  I needed to hear that.  Today's attendance was abysmal. Felt like we regressed back to last year when we first opened up after the COVID lock down. Not sure where a lot of the people were who normally would be here.  But days like that get to you.  You begin the question the usefulness of it. We crave success and outward progress.  Slogging through the mundane wears on you.  But your words drive home the reason many of us mount our pulpits Sunday in and Sunday out in our little obscure corners of the world:
God uses ordinary, everyday things like bread/wine and water; He also uses not-so-spectacular men in not-so-spectacular places to feed His not-so-spectacular sheep.  And we should rejoice in that!  Because that means He uses ME, here, where He has called me, to serve His children with exactly what they need: the Gospel.


Pretty much what I wrote in my "notes" on John 6:51-58: God takes what is sinful and evil and turns it into something good and salvific. God does it with ordinary bread and wine and mundane actions of chewing and drinking and swallowing. They bring God's salvation to us. If God can do that, then maybe God can also use ordinary and mundane people (like us) to bring Christ’s saving presence to a sinful world.

Um, so bread and wine, chewing and drinking and swallowing are "sinful and evil"?  No, that is NOT pretty much what I wrote.


I called them "ordinary" and "mundane actions." We don't have to use specialized wafers that neither look nor taste like ordinary bread. We don't have to let flour and water melt in our mouth (as one lady was taught). We can chew the bread (that should look like a loaf of bread.)

The first sentence of your "notes" makes an assertion (that God takes the sinful and evil and turns them into something good and salvific).  The second sentence in your "notes" then gives as an example of this (when you write "God does it...", which clearly suggest an identification between these two sentences) the bread/wine and the eating/drinking/swallowing.
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Dave Benke on August 09, 2021, 09:54:32 AM
Here's an interesting op-ed from this morning's New York Times on "not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together" - https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/08/opinion/covid-church-livestream.html.

Even as we kind of stick with what we've been sticking with in the time of being stuck, there do need to be encouragements like this toward the Table and Font as specific spatial locations going forward, especially if and as the pandemic threatens to pull us back apart this winter.   The article does point out something about the way the service of the Word is received online, stating that the megas and the famous preachers have pulled away from the minis and less flamboyant preachers.  I don't think that's necessarily so.  It's very possible that the opposite is also taking place, which is an opportunity for Gospel preaching over against "how-to" and law-based proclamation.  Word and prayer in our context also produce a hunger and thirst for righteousness in the reception of forgiveness at the altar.

We had a member confab at our home last night and one of the later-comers, who brought some incredible ribs, had a conversation with me about the need to emphasize love and forgiveness through God's grace, because that's what has been missing in the national scene and even in many online church services.  His complaint was that the kids, being raised on their phones, have no way to converse and make peace through interpersonal relationships.  They just bang away at one another and then give up with hate emojis.
 Of course that was the Epistle lesson for yesterday - why be kind an tenderhearted?  Because you will be imitating God who has treated you in exactly that way in the sacrificial fragrant gift of Jesus.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on August 09, 2021, 06:52:46 PM
Pretty much what I wrote in my "notes" on John 6:51-58: God takes what is sinful and evil and turns it into something good and salvific. God does it with ordinary bread and wine and mundane actions of chewing and drinking and swallowing. They bring God's salvation to us. If God can do that, then maybe God can also use ordinary and mundane people (like us) to bring Christ’s saving presence to a sinful world.

Quote
Um, so bread and wine, chewing and drinking and swallowing are "sinful and evil"?  No, that is NOT pretty much what I wrote.

Quote
Quote
I called them "ordinary" and "mundane actions." We don't have to use specialized wafers that neither look nor taste like ordinary bread. We don't have to let flour and water melt in our mouth (as one lady was taught). We can chew the bread (that should look like a loaf of bread.)


Quote
The first sentence of your "notes" makes an assertion (that God takes the sinful and evil and turns them into something good and salvific).  The second sentence in your "notes" then gives as an example of this (when you write "God does it...", which clearly suggest an identification between these two sentences) the bread/wine and the eating/drinking/swallowing.



Or the "it" could refer only to "turns it into something salvific."
In which case "it" refers to the "sinful and evil" in the first example (something expounded on more in the notes).
"It" refers to "ordinary bread and wine" in a second example.
"It" refers to "mundane actions of chewing and drinking and swallowing" in a third example.
In a fourth example, "it" is "ordinary and mundane people (like us)".


God can use all four unlikely things to bring salvation to the world.