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
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
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.