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
Stem Cell Concerns Don't Freeze Evangelical Enthusiasm for Ice Bucket Challenge
(UPDATED) ALS raises $100 million in 30 days; pro-life groups worry about embryonic research.
One of Largest Christian Colleges Decides Divorcing President Can Keep His Job
Alma mater of Ebola doctor Kent Brantly believes in 'covenant of marriage' but also 'power of grace.'
Nine Current Mars Hill Pastors Tell Mark Driscoll To Step Down from All Ministry
(UPDATED) Mars Hill responds Friday to leaked letter, says 'our team is Jesus, not one group of elders or another.'
Israel’s Christian Schools Threaten Strike over Government's 'Oppressive Steps'
'Don’t stop us from carrying on our mission,' say 50 schools as Jewish state slashes support.
Christianity Today
Methodists May Discourage Those Over 45 from Becoming Pastors