Skip to main content

young clergy

umc needs young clergy

"Today’s young adults approach the world differently than young adults did 50, 25, or even 10 years ago. Programs and structures that may have worked in 1985 will not engage today’s young adults in the life of a local church, annual conference, or even the general church.

Furthermore, The United Methodist Church must be prepared to change outdated or ineffective practices in order to respond to the way in which young adults are leading in the church today."

another young clergy blog post

When I think about the many gifts that young clergy can bring to the church and world two qualities come to the front of my mind, Hope and Disillusionment.

Young clergy can bring hope.

When clergy are “young” they are conduits of Hope. Young clergy confront problems as challenges and look for options. Young clergy gather resources, build on their strengths, view failure as just another lesson, and focus on their destination more than their condition. The young are resilient, flexible, and know that time is an illusion. Young clergy know that ministry worth doing takes more than one lifetime.

As I reflected on my own disillusionments with church, my country, my self, ministry, life, I realized that all those I could name were based on an illusion that had dissolved. Illusions like the church system would take care of me; that my congregation would love me and fill my needs for friendship, that my wife (or any one person) could meet all my needs, were far from reality. To be dis-illusioned is painful because it brings out our grief. But aren’t there millions of people disillusioned by their lives? Sometimes disillusionment can express itself in violent ways. Who better than young clergy who have confronted their own disillusionments to stand with and bring healing and hope to those who seek to live real and true. Dis-illusionment is a great gift to all who want to live lives free from illusion.

more stuff

One of the biggest needs young clergy can address is to help current members re-envision what God is calling them to do. This may or may not include all those activities and methods that they have been doing for years. Younger clergy can find ways to say farewell to dying ministries and learn to encourage congregants to begin those new ministries that fit the church’s vision and God’s will for the church. Younger clergy have the advantage of fresh ideas and have not yet grown a shell of cynicism of more seasoned clergy. They are better able to see the possibilities rather than the problems.


Jenny -- this is great stuff! I hope you'll continue in our conversation at!!!

Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…