Thursday, March 23, 2006
United Methodist, American Baptist, Clergy Workforce is Aging
United Methodist study shows sizable drop in younger clergy
WASHINGTON (AP) - United Methodist Church clergy under age 35 were 15 percent of the total in 1985 but only 4.7 percent two decades later, according to a Wesley Theological Seminary survey.
The data on "elders" (including those commissioned but not fully ordained) also showed that those age 55 and above increased from 27 percent to 41 percent during the same two decades.
The report included these figures for under-35 clergy in other "mainline" Protestant denominations: American Baptist Churches (5.5 percent), Christian Church_Disciples (5.5 percent), Episcopal Church (4.1 percent), Evangelical Lutheran Church (4.9 percent) and Presbyterian Church (7.1 percent).
For Roman Catholic priests, the total as of 2001 was even lower, 3.1 percent.
By contrast, the conservative Church of the Nazarene reported 12.7 percent of its clergy are under 35.
Wesley Seminary's Lovett Weems Jr., the project director, said organizations decline as they "fail to attract quality young leaders," which affects the "vitality of the church."
What would really be interesting would be to compare date from Assembly of God, Southern Baptist, Evangelical Free, Vineyard, Calvary Chapel, etc., as well as the non-affiliated megachurches.