Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rural Pastor Shortage Getting Critical

The shortage of pastors for rural churches is getting critical. Here's an excerpt from a recent article in Time Magazine--to read the entire article click here.

The ticktock of farm auctions and foreclosures in the heartland, punctuated by the occasional suicide, has seldom let up since the 1980s. But one of the malaise's most excruciating aspects is regularly overlooked: rural pastors are disappearing even faster than the general population, leaving graying congregations helpless in their time of greatest need.

Trace Haythorn, president of the nonprofit Fund for Theological Education (FTE), says fewer than half the rural churches in the U.S. have a full-time seminary-trained pastor; in parts of the Midwest, the figure drops to 1 in 5.

"It's a religious crisis, for sure," says Daniel Wolpert, pastor of First Presbyterian in Crookston, Minn., and a partner with the FTE, which supports young ministers and religious teachers. "And to the extent that these churches are anchoring institutions, it's a crisis of community."


Blogger BrianW said...

For over sixty years, Village Missions has been dedicated to keeping country churches alive. We believe that a vibrant, local church is central to the spiritual and moral health of a rural community. We assign a dedicated pastor/missionary couple to a church at the request of a struggling church and provide salary and other forms of support so that the couple can live and minister in that community. We have served over 1,000 churches in this way during our existence—currently we serve approximately 200 churches in the U.S. and 30 churches in Canada. A video posted on my blog perfectly illustrates the importance of having a pastor in a small community. You can find it at Brian Wechsler, Executive Director, Village Missions

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