Friday, January 9, 2009

LCMS Clergy Numbers

I don't follow LCMS statistics too closely. Perhaps that's why the numbers on p. 8 of the January 2009 Lutheran Witness were just a little bit surprising to me regarding clergy. According to the LCMS Church Information Center, there are 6,167 congregations in the synod with 9,164 clergy, or 1.49 clergymen per congregation. But then comes the next line: Of the 9,164 clergy in the synod, only 5,356 are serving a parish! Adding in chaplains (which I'm assuming are all ordained men) the number still only adds up to 5,837. That means more than 35% of our clergy, 3,327 men, are not serving in a parish or full-time work as a pastor! Now, of course, I recognize that a good chunk of that 35% includes retired pastors who often serve part-time, or ordained ministers teaching at our synodical schools, and the like. But 35%? Do we have that many bureaucrats in our synodical and district offices? What's up with these numbers? The number of missionaries is listed at 811. But in LCMS-speak, the vast majority of those are laity, right? Whatever the case, I don't want to hear any more about our need for "lay ministers." It seems we need more of our ordained men doing the first thing they were given to do in their ordination: serving in a pulpit and at an altar, preaching and teaching the Word of God and administering the sacraments.

3 comments:

revalkorn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
revalkorn said...

To fix the comment I just deleted.

The line I get as a CRM pastor (and which most CRM guys get) is that there isn't a clergy shortage. The 9,000 number is what allows them to make that "no clergy shortage" excuse. But there's no excuse for SMPP and lay ministry until they ask every CRM pastor if they'd be willing to serve these "permanent vacancy" congregations.

Pastor Koch said...

"But there's no excuse for SMPP and lay ministry until they ask every CRM pastor if they'd be willing to serve these "permanent vacancy" congregations."

Agreed!