LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline

Started by Dave Likeness, August 06, 2021, 02:55:09 PM

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PrTim15

Seminaries have made no changes in recruiting strategies in over 30 years.

Steven W Bohler

Quote from: PrTim15 on August 07, 2021, 09:47:07 AM
Seminaries have made no changes in recruiting strategies in over 30 years.

What do you propose they do instead?

Charles Austin

#17
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.

Iowa-born. ELCA pastor, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. English major. Elitist snob? Probably.

peter_speckhard

Quote from: 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.
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.

Steven W Bohler

Quote from: 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.

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?

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Steven W Bohler on August 07, 2021, 07:24:53 AM
Quote from: PrTim15 on August 07, 2021, 12:34:55 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.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Randy Bosch

#21
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.

Brian Stoffregen

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.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Randy Bosch

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 07, 2021, 11:17:24 AM
Quote from: Steven W Bohler on August 07, 2021, 07:24:53 AM
Quote from: PrTim15 on August 07, 2021, 12:34:55 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.

Steven W Bohler

#24
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 07, 2021, 11:17:24 AM
Quote from: Steven W Bohler on August 07, 2021, 07:24:53 AM
Quote from: PrTim15 on August 07, 2021, 12:34:55 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.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

#25
Quote from: Steven W Bohler on August 07, 2021, 10:22:49 AM
Quote from: PrTim15 on August 07, 2021, 09:47:07 AM
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.
I serve as administrator for The Lutheran Study Bible group on Facebook.

Charles Austin

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.
Iowa-born. ELCA pastor, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. English major. Elitist snob? Probably.

Terry W Culler

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.
"No particular Church has ... a right to existence, except as it believes itself the most perfect from of Christianity, the form which of right, should and will be universal."
Charles Porterfield Krauth

pearson

Quote from: Pr. Terry 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.


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

Tom Pearson

Richard Johnson

Quote from: 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?

Ordaining women. And LGBTQ candidates.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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