Where are our Future Ministers now?

May 24, 2018 by Lee Hinson-Hasty

You probably will not be surprised to learn our future ministers are active in healthy congregations now, maybe even yours! According to a landmark 2017 Barna study, the vast majority (85%) of current ministers were active as children in a congregation and almost as many were in church youth groups (75%). Almost all report that they considered the environment of those congregations as somewhat to very healthy.

Who do you know that may have gifts for pastoral ministry that you or someone you know serves as a mentor or part of their mentoring community? Maybe they are in a Sunday school class, planning to go to that church summer camp, or showing up for church choir and mission activity because they love leading and serving?

Second Presbyterian Church Little Rock Arkansas
Second Presbyterian Church, Little Rock, Arkansas

So why was I surprised when I learned that Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock, Arkansas has six members under care of the Presbytery of Arkansas preparing to be ministers and five of those already in seminary? I guess it is because my mission and calling is to support future ministers in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and I believe this congregation is one of less than five in nearly 10,000 congregations with three or more seminarians today…. and possibly fewer… and they have twice that number (6)!

So when pastor Steve Hancock sent me a message last week, I was invited in to prayers for the candidates for ministry like his congregation who read about them on the cover of their recent newsletter. My prayers were of gratitude for this supportive congregation that gives sacred “energy, intelligence, imagination and love” including time and money as prayers in action.

Do you know of other congregations with more than one person preparing for ministry? I want to join you in giving thanks for who God is calling now. Like the religious leadership mantel passed from Eli to Samuel (1 Samuel 3- Lectionary lesson for June 3, 2018), God is calling out now to the next generation of ministers to serve our Church and world and they may need our guidance to help them hear and be supported on that pilgrimage.

Share with me your stories of congregations with more than one person preparing for ministry by e-mailing me at lee.hinson-hasty@presbyterianfoundation.org or calling me at (502) 569-5357.