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 A Report from the Director OCTOBER 28, 2009 

Update Oct. 28, 20092009 Clergy Age Trends Report Released

The Lewis Center is releasing its latest version of Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church containing updated 2009 statistics.

The new report, prepared with assistance from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, again this year contains modest good news for United Methodists. The consistent decline in under-35 elders as a percentage of all elders hit its low point in 2005 and has held relatively steady with slight increases since then. In 2009, under-35 elders were slightly up as a percentage at 5.25 percent and down by four in total number. At the same time, the percentage of deacons under 35 grew to 8.42 percent, and young local pastors increased to 5.5 percent.

The five conferences where young elders are highest as a percentage of elders in 2009 are Alaska (one out of three), Mississippi, Holston, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The largest number of young elders is found in Western North Carolina with sixty-two.

The report shows the numbers and percentages of young elders, deacons, and local pastors for each annual conference. The report also gives the average and median ages of elders by conference. A new feature of the 2009 report is a breakdown by conference of young, middle age, and older clergy for elders, deacons, and local pastors.

The older cohort of clergy, between 55 and 72, continues to grow each year among all three clergy groups. Twenty-seven annual conferences have 50 percent or more of their elders between the ages of 55 and 72. In addition, for the first time this report takes a look at patterns of retirements among Baby Boomer elders, which shows that Boomers are for the most part remaining as active clergy and not retiring early.

Clergy in the middle group, 35 to 54, declined in all three clergy categories as more of them move into the older age group with fewer younger clergy moving into the middle group.

The report can be found on the Center’s website, at www.churchleadership.com/research/um_clergy_age_trends09.htm.

Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

Learn More about the Lewis Pastoral Leadership InventoryTM

LPLI Since its debut on September 30, thousands of clergy have visited www.LPLI.org to learn about the Lewis Center’s new leadership assessment inventory for clergy – the Lewis Pastoral Leadership InventoryTM (LPLI). Already, many individual clergy, congregations, conference leaders, and groups of clergy have purchased the instrument as a way to inform their conversations around clergy effectiveness and provide meaningful feedback for growth. Click here to view a brief video introduction to the Lewis Pastoral Leadership InventoryTM. Or, become a fan of the LPLI on Facebook to stay abreast of the latest news and developments.

Lewis Center Seeks Information on Budget Savings

The current economic environment has required congregations to review carefully all expenditures in 2009 and their projected budget commitments for 2010. The Lewis Center is seeking to learn what changes you have made to save money in church budgets that have not reduced the quality of your ministry.

There may be other reductions that have had a negative impact on ministry, but we are interested in learning about those that did not. Please take a moment to respond to this question by emailing lewiscenter@wesleyseminary.edu.

Sent your questions.Do You Have Questions of the Lewis Center?

If you have a question about church leadership, you may send it to asklewiscenter@wesleyseminary.edu. The Center will seek to respond to as many as possible. Some will be answered in future Updates without attribution of the questioner.

Update is a monthly report to subscribers of Leading Ideas
on the work of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.

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