Author Topic: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?  (Read 14836 times)

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #120 on: July 01, 2019, 11:42:38 AM »
Steve Ames, thank you for your response.  I am NALC, no longer LCMS, AELC or ELCA as all formerly....  But I do not wish to join a Wisc Synod parish or that body largely because while I do not believe that anyone can and should go to HC.... Lutherans, at least, should be open to fellow Lutherans and a bit more to others in Christendom.  That is a deal breaker.  I also find a private Mass for only parishioners, frankly theologically scary.   That they like the LCMS do not have ordained women is not the conclusion I have come to but they are following a long, historic practice; I understand that.   But I shall refer those without a church home to my Wisconsin neighbors.
Harvey S. Mozolak
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #121 on: July 01, 2019, 11:47:51 AM »
Personally, I'm enjoying my "retirement" as a part time pastor. I am still fully capable of serving a parish and relish the weekly task of preparing and serving a weekly service and sermon and caring for the small flock, but also relish the greater freedom and slower pace of being committed to only a part time position. I also am fulfilling a real need. The position that I fill serves the congregation as it needs to be served, they are too small to be able to support a full time pastor but we are the only Lutheran congregation in our rural Michigan county. (Most of the county is part of the Manistee National Forest, so the population is small.) Alternatives would be a permanent vacancy or joining with another congregation in another county for a spread out two or three point parish, possible but not easy. Or they could simply disband.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #122 on: July 01, 2019, 11:57:45 AM »
This was posted over in that other thread, but it really belongs here:
I believe that everyone should consider whether or not, after a certain number of years, they have done their work, maybe they are no longer able to do the work as well as It should be done. They can do it “good enough,” but someone else could do it better.
Then there is the issue - is it a “moral” one? - of making way for new leadership.
How many pastors continue for the sake of ego or the fear of losing income or because they don’t know what they would do in retirement.
This humble correspondent misses - sometimes deep and painfully - the weekly and daily excitement of both my professions and my old haunts and the house I enjoyed for 38 years, but I am finding some real pleasure and comfort as I learn how to “reposition.”
P.S. It is hard, sometimes harder, for Beloved Spouse, too.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. Just another bozo on the bus, trying to get through the day without getting bruised.

Charles Austin

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #123 on: July 01, 2019, 12:02:19 PM »
And of course, the reason some continue beyond their “prime” is because low compensation Over the years Means a low pension. And living in a parsonage May mean that they have no home equity to purchase a retirement home.
Another reason why We must work on getting our people adequate compensation.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. Just another bozo on the bus, trying to get through the day without getting bruised.

GalRevRedux

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #124 on: July 01, 2019, 12:33:42 PM »
This was posted over in that other thread, but it really belongs here:
I believe that everyone should consider whether or not, after a certain number of years, they have done their work, maybe they are no longer able to do the work as well as It should be done. They can do it “good enough,” but someone else could do it better.
Then there is the issue - is it a “moral” one? - of making way for new leadership.
How many pastors continue for the sake of ego or the fear of losing income or because they don’t know what they would do in retirement.
This humble correspondent misses - sometimes deep and painfully - the weekly and daily excitement of both my professions and my old haunts and the house I enjoyed for 38 years, but I am finding some real pleasure and comfort as I learn how to “reposition.”
P.S. It is hard, sometimes harder, for Beloved Spouse, too.

I am currently “repositioning” also. Interim has ended. Husband has introduced me to widowhood. Preparing for Medicare years...re-learning to live alone...figuring out if I want to be really “retired” or continue on leave from call...and more. Like you, Charles, I am acutely sensing the aspects of an active call that I am missing most intensely. Seeking what those new joys might be. Trying to find my place in the grand scheme. Praying more intensely than ever.

Appreciated your honest words, Charles.

Donna
A pastor of the North American Lutheran Church.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #125 on: July 01, 2019, 12:34:58 PM »
I think that some people wrongly assume that SS will provide an adequate income in retirement.  Current generations active in the workforce, I fear, do not have long-range saving as a priority.  When my parents and in-laws passed away and we received inheritance money much of it was invested for the future.  I have lived in a parsonage for all of my 32 years of ministry.  I knew early on that I would have to provide some sort of 'nest egg' to provide for this housing since I have absolutely no equity in any real estate.  I briefly owned my mother's home back in 2003/04, but it would have been too difficult to maintain and I did not have the finances to own it long-term.

Although I know I will have a pension from the Synod and SS, I still need to supplement this with other investments.  Part of my challenge is insurance since my wife is 5 1/2 years younger than me with a pre-existing health condition and will obviously not be eligible for Medicare for quite a while after I retire.  Couple that with housing and one has to be willing to forego some pleasures over the course of ones working years in order to be ready for retirement.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Charles Austin

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #126 on: July 01, 2019, 12:44:19 PM »
Donna the loss of a spouse is the most serious change we ever have to make. And I hope I don’t have to make it. Blessings to you as you adjust.
As for retirement, I don’t think it is the work I miss, but I think I miss being the person who does that work. Writing. Covering the news. Preaching. Presiding. Caring for a congregation. I’m not the person who does that anymore.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. Just another bozo on the bus, trying to get through the day without getting bruised.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #127 on: July 01, 2019, 12:51:37 PM »
Donna the loss of a spouse is the most serious change we ever have to make. And I hope I don’t have to make it. Blessings to you as you adjust.
As for retirement, I don’t think it is the work I miss, but I think I miss being the person who does that work. Writing. Covering the news. Preaching. Presiding. Caring for a congregation. I’m not the person who does that anymore.
I think this is a key a lot of people don't think about. Their job isn't primarily about what they're doing with their time in any given hour of the week, it is a key, often prime source of identity 24/7. The people who struggle in retirement the most haven't struggled to answer to the question, "What will I do at 8:00 a.m.? They've struggled to answer the question, "Now who am I?" Very often, the sense of having a secure place in the world and being valued and important matters a lot more than the insurance premiums.

A great portrayal of a bad retirement is in the movie About Schmidt.   

Dave Benke

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #128 on: July 01, 2019, 01:15:38 PM »
I announced to the congregation council last November my intention to retire at the end of April. I felt that it was time for both me and the congregation for a change. April 28 was my last Sunday. (According to Portico, my retirement began June 1.) Part of the decision was financial. It looked like we could afford to retire and continue our standard of living. (Seven years of car payments had just ended. We inherited a chuck of money that was providing a monthly income; and some of it was used to remodel the house.) It was also apparent that the congregation would have to dip into their savings to continue to pay me through the lean summer months.


I was also tired. All but 18 months of my 43 years of ministry were as a solo pastor in smaller congregations - often without any paid staff - no secretary, volunteers as musicians, janitor service, and landscaping.


I have no regrets after two months of staying away from the church. My wife and I are taking off today for about a two week road trip up the California coast to sight see and visit friends. We're not sure when we're returning.

Nice!  At least you didn't say "we're not sure IF we're returning!"

Dave Benke

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #129 on: July 01, 2019, 02:55:07 PM »
Retirement is looming on my horizon as well. Part of the reason was also widowhood for me. My ministry and life partner for over 40-years was called to the Church Triumphant, leaving an enormous hole in my life. Although the good Lord has graciously and powerfully moved to bless me with a remarkable helpmate for the rest of my journey, that traumatic shift in my life seemed to me to signal an end to ministry as I had lived it for so long. Since I'm already receiving social security and having other sources of retirement income, I'm blessed in that the finances should not be an issue, as well as owning my own home. Having served in my present call for almost 20-years, I sense it is also time for new leadership here, as well as the emotional reality that the illnesses and family turmoil and funerals I conduct are no longer for "members" so to speak, but for "friends" and that takes an enormous toll as I have aged. I do not envision ceasing to be engaged in ministry, but with a new focus and lessoned time demands that frees me up for my new spouse, children and grandchildren and some of those things postponed over the years.
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

Dan Fienen

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #130 on: July 01, 2019, 03:14:46 PM »
One side benefit for me in being semi-retired is not only do I not have to make that transition from being an active pastor to simply dabbling in it for the occasional pulpit supply, but I have a office over at church that became my man cave and I can hide out there out from underfoot.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Dave Likeness

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #131 on: July 01, 2019, 04:43:16 PM »
With the trend of second-career pastors there is a shorter shelf life in the pastoral ministry.
Some of them enter the ministry at age 45 or 50.  This gives them 15 or 20 years of parish
ministry until they are 65 years old.  Perhaps this skews the demographics of those who are
nearing retirement with  those who were ordained in their late 20's.  Just an observation.

Dave Benke

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #132 on: July 01, 2019, 04:51:27 PM »
With the trend of second-career pastors there is a shorter shelf life in the pastoral ministry.
Some of them enter the ministry at age 45 or 50.  This gives them 15 or 20 years of parish
ministry until they are 65 years old.  Perhaps this skews the demographics of those who are
nearing retirement with  those who were ordained in their late 20's.  Just an observation.

What I found out over time, Dave, is that the second career pastors desired to serve beyond and even well beyond the age of 65, keeping on in ministry until well into their 70s, and giving them maybe 30 years of pastoral service.  A good thing as long as health and strength prevails.

Dave Benke

Charles Austin

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #133 on: July 01, 2019, 05:55:58 PM »
I have known people, and not just clergy, for whom the “job “was everything about their identity.  They had terrible times adjusting to retirement, because they have no meaningful life outside their work.
I miss what I did, both as pastor and journalist and church executive. But those things did not fully define me. I have music, I have my “personal” writing; we go to plays and concerts; we read books and Belong to two book discussion groups; Trillium Woods Provides excursions and other entertainment and activities. I color.  It is easy to go to our gym three or four times a week. There are interesting people living here, and while you can’t make new “old” friends, they are interesting people.
Moving far away from where we had lived for nearly 40 years presented us with some problems of adjustment.
My advice? Be sure and start thinking about retirement for several years before you will actually do it. Think everything through carefully. And then understand that it will take some major adjustments in your life. Then try to focus on what life is all about now rather than what was behind.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. Just another bozo on the bus, trying to get through the day without getting bruised.

Richard Johnson

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #134 on: July 01, 2019, 05:56:29 PM »
This was posted over in that other thread, but it really belongs here: [as does my response]
...
P.S. It is hard, sometimes harder, for Beloved Spouse, too.

True, that. My retiring from the parish was harder on my wife than on me. And she also had a harder time retiring from her profession. And a good bit of the "repositioning" has to involved "repositioning" of that relationship; that's probably the thing I least anticipated.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS