Jump directly to the content

Methodists May Discourage Those Over 45 from Becoming Pastors

Texas Conference of United Methodists is proposing new age guidelines that encourage recruiting younger clergy.

Update (May 21): Houston-area Methodist minister Josh Hale has written a blog post clarifying some of the ageism claims regarding the Texas Conference's proposed changes for the age of clergy.

––-

The overall average age of retirement is creeping slowly upward, but one regional United Methodist conference is promoting changes that would limit ordination opportunities for anyone over the age of 45.

The Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) has proposed new guidelines for candidates entering ministry. The guidelines encourage those over the age of 45 to "to pursue other expressions of lay ministry," and they aim to recruit younger clergy.

According to the UMC, "The Rev. Carol Bruse, the chair of the conference's 70-member board of ordained ministry, said the aim of the proposed standards is to help the conference plan for future needs. The policy would not affect current clergy or clergy candidates in the Texas Conference."

But the UMC also acknowledges that ordination is a lengthy process. As a result, "elders 35 or older made up more than 94 percent of all provisional and ordained elders [in 2012], and 53 percent of all elders were age 55 or older."

Some critics of the proposal have called it "outright ageism," and others say the emphasis on younger leaders could misinterpret the mission of the church.

Comprised of nearly 285,000 members, the Texas Conference is one of the largest UMC conferences in the U.S., and it could be an influential leader among other conferences when it comes to lowering the average age of clergy. In any case, the conference does not plan to make its final decision on the proposal until October.

Related Topics:None
Posted:May 20, 2013 at 10:20AM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
Christian College Will Auction Rare Bibles To Preserve Others
Some debate whether Gordon College's Vining Collection should stay together.
Prominent Advocate for Persecuted Christians Resigns After Sex Assault Conviction
Barnabas Aid defends its work as 'much bigger than one man' after jury rules Patrick Sookhdeo groped employee and intimidated witnesses.
One-Third of Audience for Christian Books, Radio, TV, and Movies Is Unchurched
LifeWay/NRB study examines whether Christian media is used for discipleship or evangelism.
ISIS Kidnaps 100 Christians in Syria: Prisoner Swap, or Libya-Style Propaganda?
(UPDATED) Christian leader: In light of 'barbaric record with the captured, the destiny of these families is a major concern to us.'
Christianity Today
Methodists May Discourage Those Over 45 from Becoming Pastors