Author Topic: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)  (Read 5083 times)


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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #75 on: May 09, 2021, 08:04:27 AM »
A few thoughts, some petty, maybe some profound:

1) As a graduate of some of the last bigger classes, where 20-30 graduates would go without a call on call day, when I look at where these grads are being assigned there is more than a hint of envy which is my sin such as it is.  Quite a few of us were assigned to places with little hope and the entire future course of ministry determined by that initial placement.  I am happy that it less so with many of these grads.  May they have fruitful ministries.

2) Even though the decline in the number of graduates has obviously allowed placement to be pickier, the rot and denial are deep enough that there are still several assigned between rocks and hard places.

3) Seeing as the system won't put any pressure itself on congregations to address reality, the only feedback mechanism is enrollment and what current pastors tell potential ones.  And what everyone in the hierarchy should understand fully is that the message is if you can do anything else, do it.  And until either enough pressure builds that the hierarchy is willing to lead in truth on these matters or the way of all flesh happens effecting the change by crisis and attrition from below, that will not change.

4) I was once hopeful that the pressure would build fast enough.  Today I am much less so.  The boomers as in all things are proving remarkably willing to hold onto positions and refuse necessary change (while often introducing spurious changes) long past the point of Joel's hope that something would be left after the locust swarm.

5) Thinking of Pr. Benke's statistics.  I have reported every year I have been here.  And I forced good numbers on myself.  Both things that are not widely shared.  Due to the demand to report on "in person" numbers, this is the first year I will not be reporting anything.  Since they dropped the 10 years of history on the locator, I have no intention of letting the one number anyone could see be COVID's number.  I have zero trust in the system to maintain any type of uniformity.  I specifically made choices that avoided the record and play anytime in favor of maintaining the church appointment.  Yes, they are not physically present which I agree doesn't fully count, but my numbers are not just "views".  They are attending in the way they think possible and I could speak to each one however briefly before and after much like meeting in the narthex.  I determined the best way not to lie about anything was simply not to report anything.  Let the numbers autopopulate from the prior year as they do with the appropriate year indicator.  Let the reader understand.

Hey Mark,

Just catching up here.

I always look forward to reading your posts as they always pique my interest.  To your 4th point Iíve been thinking about that a lot recently, especially considering some of the comments here.   I wonder if the inability to let go has to do with all the hard work that during their tenure in ministry did tend to work.  I suppose thatís the curse of coming of age and serving during the greatest period of growth the church has ever seen.   I would imagine it must be hard watching the very thing that you dedicated your entire life to fall apart before your very eyes.  It begs all kind of questions, questions that may be a very threat to the identities and egos that were formed during this time and then cemented.   You add the ďsacred canopyĒ and the denial can be even stronger and decision making even more baffling.  After all, God is on our side, at least thatís what weíve always believed and it always appeared that way.  So now what?  Maybe this decline and collapse is revealing that we havenít been as effective or in control as we thought we might be and thatís going to mess around with some egos.  Itís always funny for my wife and I to compare how we grew up, especially from a church life perspective.  We really were in two different worlds.  Already in the 90s my home congregation and school was well into decline, with its glory days further and further in the rear view mirror.  My wifeís congregation and school, headed by father-in-law, was growing by leaps and bounds, breaking ground and building.  He was at one time one of those guys who would go all over and speak at conferences and conventions.   Coming into a marriage with both experiences has made for interesting conversations and realizations on both sides.  The one thing it impressed upon me was that there are much more exterior and worldly factors that go into the success of a church which we donít really give much attention to because of our God talk.  It reminds me of the conversation concerning movements and leaders.  Are movements spawned by good leadership or do movements spawn the leaders needed to lead them?  My sense is that we are still very much attached to the former because of how individualistic we are, which is why we keep doing the same things over and over again but getting the same results.  Itís like Synodical politics, I think we would more accurately read the present state of Synod if we understood President Harrison as being more the result of Synodís move rightward rather than his leading the way from the start.   


Very helpful analysis, thank you.

Thanks, you're welcome!