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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Update on the Pastor Glut in the LCMS

With the new administration in the LCMS, there seems also to have come some forthright speaking from the top on the actual level of need for new pastors in the LCMS.

COP Secretary Rev. William Klettke, president of the New Jersey District, reported that, as of September, 209 LCMS congregations were calling sole pastors; 33, senior pastors; and 33, associate or assistant pastors. He also reported 203 congregations with temporary non-calling vacancies and 395 with permanent non-calling vacancies.

As a frame of reference, Klettke also listed the numbers for September 2007: 349 congregations calling sole pastors; 58, senior pastors; and 83, associate or assistant pastors. That same month, there were also 418 congregations listing non-calling vacancies, compared to the total of 598 in September 2010.

In 2007, the report did not distinguish between temporary non-calling and permanent non-calling vacancies, Klettke said.

"There is not a lot of mobility these days," said LCMS First Vice-President Rev. Herbert C. Mueller Jr., referring to the report and the state of the economy. He also added, "This is the lowest number of calling congregations that I remember and the highest number of non-calling congregations."

The COP's next meeting is Nov. 16-17 in Nashville, before the 2010 Lutheran Church Extension Fund Fall Leadership Conference there.

Please note, the pastoral labor market is about 40% tighter than it was just three years ago.

If you are planning on going to seminary, have a back up plan. No one can guarantee that you will come out of the seminary - which for almost all students means lots of debt, and for many students means great family disruption - with gainful employment. If anyone tries to tell you that of course you will get a call, that it will all come right, that a pastoral shortage is just around the corner - he is simply wrong, or daydreaming, or a liar: and it's you and your family who will have to reap the consequences, not the fellow with the rose colored glasses.

If anyone tells you that we are headed for a time when guys just need to plan on being "worker-priests," please refer him here. A worker-priest situation is a sad necessity for far too many pastors today. Woe betide the fellowship that seeks to turn a sad necessity into a chosen pattern of ministry against a Dominical command.


Pr. H. R.25 Comments