Where are the younger clergy?

Affirming vocations

The number of ordained clergy age 35 or under in mainline denominations is remarkably low. The United Church of Christ lists only 207 clergy in that category—only 4 percent of its total number of ministers. The figure is even lower for the Disciples of Christ (3.7 percent) and the Episcopal Church (3.9 percent), and it is only slightly higher for American Baptists (5.8 percent), for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (6.1 percent), for United Methodists (6.7 percent) and for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (7 percent).

By contrast, 25 years ago nearly one-quarter of all PCUSA pastors were 35 or under, and almost one-fifth of Episcopal ministers were that young.

So the questions arise: Where are the younger clergy? Why aren’t young people chosing pastoral ministry?


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