Programs: Early Years of Ministry
The Lewis Center has been a leading voice on issues related to younger clergy.
Clergy Age Trend Research. The Lewis Center was the first to alert the church to the serious and sustained decline in the number of clergy under 35 with its ground-breaking research on clergy age trends. These findings, which are updated annually, have ignited a church-wide conversation on the need to encourage younger candidates for the ministry.
The Crisis of Younger Clergy (Abingdon Press, 2008), by Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr. and Ann A. Michel of the Lewis Center staff, explores the reasons why having a proportionate number of young persons entering ordained ministry is so vital to the future of the church. Drawing on up-to-date statistical compilations and survey findings, the book profiles the young clergy population in the United Methodist Church. It exposes the many challenges younger clergy face while lifting up the unique gifts they have to offer.
United Methodist Residency Process. Working with the residency process in the United Methodist Church, the Lewis Center has developed expertise on what new clergy need to develop and grow. The Lewis Center has been involved in efforts to ease the transition into ministry through:
- research on the effectiveness of the probationary process in the United Methodist Church and customized programs of continuing education for provisional clergy
- resources for training clergy mentors
Supported by the Lilly Endowment's Sustaining Pastoral Exellence Initiative, the Lewis Center provides the Lewis Fellows programs of peer learning and support for outstanding young clergy.