Several denominations have more clergy seeking positions than they have positions seeking clergy. This is particularly true for denominations that have been losing members. The situation is such that if present trends continue (and of course they never do exactly), according to one report, “there will be an Episcopal priest for every lay member of that denomination in the year 2004.” The United Presbyterians would find themselves in the same fix only seven years later.

We would remind would-be clergypersons who can’t find positions that there is a long tradition of ministers gathering a flock through evangelism. Whatever shortage of vacant pulpits certain groups may have, there is no shortage of potential converts to Christianity. In fact, many denominations are growing instead of shrinking. Although much of that growth may be at the expense of declining denominations, at least some of it is by gaining adherents from among the previously unchurched.

Nor is there any shortage of Christians who need to be ministered to. The rising divorce rate among believers is just one example of the need for counseling and other forms of mutual ministry in the body of Christ.

God may never lead you into full-time ministry, but this in no way lessens your potential to wholeheartedly serve God as an active member of a congregation. (Conversely, holding a full-time position does not automatically mean that you are a servant of God.)

The responsibility for the ministry of the church ultimately belongs to God himself. The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, and he is not capriciously equipping disciples for ministries that don’t exist. It may be that denominations have created job descriptions and academic programs that contribute to an ...

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