Author Topic: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline  (Read 3895 times)

Dan Fienen

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #30 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.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Richard Johnson

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #31 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.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #32 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.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #33 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.
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Charles Austin

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #34 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!?
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Terry W Culler

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #35 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?

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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #36 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.
I serve as administrator for www.churchhistoryreview.org.

Dan Fienen

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #37 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.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #38 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.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #39 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.  🙄
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PrTim15

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #40 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.

Charles Austin

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #41 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.”
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #42 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".

Terry W Culler

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #43 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.
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D. Engebretson

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Re: LCMS Church Worker Recruitment Decline
« Reply #44 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.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI