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Monday, September 23, 2013

Unpaid clergy: An ancient new trend

Exhortation to the Disciples (J. Tissot)
There is much talk today about going back to the way things used to be. 

Within more and more chuches, this notion is being expressed by a reliance upon unpaid clergy.  As Lori Modesitt, a ministry developer for the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming, said:  What we're talking about is going back to the original church, where people took an active part and used their God-given gifts for the betterment of the community.

Jeffrey Macdonald of The Huffington Post reports that "as churches face declining numbers and look to new ministry models to make ends meet," more and more mainline Protestant churches have been "cutting back to halftime or one-quarter-time packages for clergy, who increasingly work second jobs."  Although most mainline churches still pay their clergy, 30 percent of them do so for only a part-time pastor. 

Seminaries are now adjusting to this new reality.  The United States Presbyterian Church is preparing new students "to plan for nonchurch employment so they can serve fledgling congregations that can't afford a full-time salary plus benefits."  Auburn Theological Seminary has been "encouraging a new form of ministry
where students realize they may not go into congregations in traditional buildings that can pay them full-time salaries."  In keeping with this, Auburn is "developing an entrepreneurial ministry track…"


Copyright September 23, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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