Pastor Shortage
By Rev. Jack Cascione


A Letter:

I am responding to the so called "pastors shortage." I will quote from a study I did in May, 1999:

"The smallest churches are most at risk when there is a shortage of pastors. Of the 2,550 small congregations (less than 100 in worship), 668, or 26% have vacancies. The vacancy rate for the 6,215 stations in the LCMS is 15%. If Synod's vacancy rate should increase to 25% in the year 2007 as President Krause said, that would result in a 43% vacancy rate for the small churches. When we see a statistical group as large as 2,550 small churches we must ask if every subgroup (within those 2,550 small churches) is effected in the same way? In other words, is there a 26% vacancy rate among the small churches in the growing urban areas? Our common sense tells us that the small churches in growing urban areas have very few vacancies. On the other hand the situation is much worse for the small churches in stable or declining population areas. The vacancy rate among the congregations in communities with little growth potential is much higher than 26% now, and will be higher than 43 % in the year 2007."

Just because larger churches can attract a large number of pastors on a call list does not mean there is no shortage of pastors. Please pray that the Lord will move many men to study for the ministry! There is a shortage of pastors today and it is growing rapidly.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Doug May
Hope Lutheran Church
Socorro, New Mexico

Editors Comment:

Reclaim News recently questioned the severity of the pastor shortage for two reasons.

First, there are more pastors working for Synod and the Districts than ever before. Returning those pastors to the parish would solve much of the clergy shortage immediately.

Second, Reclaim News continues to receive the names of pastors who are seeking a call.

In light of Pastor May's comments we would also agree that there will be shortage if the Synod does not recruit more graduates.

Just thinking out loud: what if there is an effort to close and/or merge some smaller congregations thus shifting the political influence of the smaller congregations in the Synod to the larger ones? Approximately 50% of the members of the LCMS are in 20% of the congregations.

A "pastor shortage" is also a reason for the Florida Georgia District setting up its own college for church workers. These church workers might coincidentally agree with them on open communion and other issues.

A "pastor shortage" sets up lots of possibilities.

Rev. Jack Cascione is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church (LCMS - MI) in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. He has written numerous articles for Christian News and is the author of Reclaiming the Gospel in the LCMS: How to Keep Your Congregation Lutheran. He has also written a study on the Book of Revelation called In Search of the Biblical Order.
He can be reached by email at

May 1, 2000