“Clergy Surplus”

See Pr. Petersen here.

Timotheos

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6 thoughts on ““Clergy Surplus”

  1. OK. The LC-MS does not suffer of any clergy shortage. Good. I hope you guys count your blessings, because we do have this problem, and it is tragic.
    Still, there is one issue: those churches who (despite everything that is being said and proved) do not have a pastor.If we are honest with ourselves we’ll realize it’s because they are just too small to pay a salary, or too small to be “interesting” for a pastor, or dysfunctional or all of the above.
    Now, I grew up in small, struggling churches, and I could not attend anything bigger than 60 if I had to live in the States, but I do not see what the future of this model of congreagtion can be.
    I know it is not an ideal model, but I do not see any other solution than deacons regularly ordained for Word AND Sacrament ministry.

  2. Some solutions would be circuit pastors, and temporary or visiting pastors from other congregations, as well as one pastor for two or more small congregations. Or, a pastor who has a day job while also pastoring a congregation.

    The issue of Deacons leading Divine Service is still out for debate. (This is not a derogatory statement against Deacons, but an issue of Ordained Pastors leading Divine Service).

    In many cases deacons are people with a regular vocation and usually serve a congregation in some capacity without compensation. And this might just as easily be a role for our excess clergy.

  3. “Or, a pastor who has a day job while also pastoring a congregation.”

    That’s what many pastors of our synod have to do, and I can tell you it’s a very challenging situation. Also, it allows some churches to have a pastor, but they rarely grow (writing a sermon every week in those conditions is already a big deal, so let’s not talk about evangelism).
    The Reformed and the catholic church here have regrouped their parishes for a while now, especially in rural areas. The service will be held one week at one place, the one after in another place, etc. People who want to attend every week drive to church, but I am not sure many people in the States would be ready to do that.

  4. “The Reformed and the catholic church here have regrouped their parishes for a while now, especially in rural areas. The service will be held one week at one place, the one after in another place, etc. People who want to attend every week drive to church, but I am not sure many people in the States would be ready to do that.”

    This points to another set of problems. First, we here do not have the authority structure that the Roman church, at least, has. So Rome has the ability to close churches where few people are even if the people don’t like it. Here, churches with five people can go on and on and on. Now I sympathize with the sort of nostalgic feeling that can make closing an old church saddening. However, sometimes it’s simply necessary.

    So to add another facet to the debate, sometimes the church without a pastor is a small group of people which can no longer afford to pay a pastor, but which is unwilling to allow itself to be assimilated into another congregation (probably because it split from that congregation in the first place).

    Tim

  5. “Or, a pastor who has a day job while also pastoring a congregation.”,,,”That’s what many pastors of our synod have to do, and I can tell you it’s a very challenging situation.”

    Indeed, it is. And this is where I see properly trained Deacon/Deaconess being a valuable asset by assisting in the details of administering the pastoral office so the Pastor can focuses on the Worship aspects.

    We also rely heavily on church counsels and elders to fulfill many of these roles.

    On another tangent, I see many pastors trying to manage too many of the details. But I can’t say whether that is good or bad in any given situation.

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