Ordained clergy seeking federal bail-out
If George Barna’s predictions are true, many professional ministers may find themselves unemployed within the next ten to fifteen years as their congregations literally disappear into thin air. Research indicates that significant numbers of committed Christians are leaving institutional churches (IC) in favor of a less structured faith journey. Barna calls it a Revolution in his 2005 book by the same title; in fact, he describes it as “the biggest Revolution of our time.”
Obviously, the title of this article is a spoof reflecting on the dire consequences facing professional clergy; however, the current religious industry seems to be completely oblivious, as it churns out newly-minted “masters of divinity” left and right. Many ordained clergy will confess that they have no marketable skills outside their church vocations, having invested four years pursuing an undergraduate degree, three years getting their MDiv, and another two to six years completing either a Doctor of Ministry or a PhD. Others entered their ministerial career later in life, after significant experience in business or industry.
I’m wondering if anyone has really thought about the serious plight of these fellow believers, who simply got caught up in the IC system like so many others with sincere hearts, the purest of motives, and a desire to serve the Lord with their entire being. All my life the message was clear: “full-time ministry” or “full-time missionary service” was the very pinnacle of commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and His church.
With the deconstruction or collapse of this gigantic religious industry, how will these families be cared for and ministered to? Will they be honored? Or will they be held in contempt like the Wall Street bankers who lined their pockets and then asked for the government to bail them out?