Young Clergy

In recent decades, many North American churches have suffered a serious and sustained decline in the number and percentages of clergy under the age of 35. In many denominations, the percentage of younger clergy has slipped close to five percent or even less. While middle-aged and older pastors bring vital gifts to the practice of ministry, it is troubling that the church allows so many younger persons to ignore God’s call.

We were among the first to sound the alarm regarding “the crisis of younger clergy” when it published in March 2006 a research report entitled Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church. Since then, the Lewis Center has issued an updated Clergy Age report annually.

The Lewis Center has given sustained attention over the past decade to supporting and empowering young clergy, particularly through the highly acclaimed Lewis Fellows program that provides ongoing leadership development opportunities to outstanding young clergy.

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