Conventions and associations cannot take care of the churches. They are just not set up to cover the day to day operations of a hurting church, or to do much more than celebrate a healthy church, if one can be found.
Preachers take care of churches.
So, who takes care of preachers?
We are running out of preachers in America as a result. No one much wishes to be a pastor. Does this mean God is no longer calling persons to preach? Really? Or is it just so bad in so many places, no one wants to answer the call?
The preacher today is caught up in the middle of a generational sandwich. He/she is trapped between the traditionals, who need an old standard worship hour and the millenials, who celebrate the values and work ethic of their elders but do not wish to take part with them. Chances are, the pastor himself/herself is a modern, who just wants to find a business model that will work and get at it.
So, forced terminations are at a record high, churches are dying, denominations are dying with them and no one is offering much more than an admonition to look the other way. It is enough to make a sane fellow ask, "What is next?"
I cannot claim total sanity after forty plus years in this life but I am asking about the next step. We are a cooperating, society-building people. That is unlikely to change. There will be some apparatus, but what will it look like?
Any thought about the future needs to take into account the next generation, which:
- Admires the work ethic of its elders, but plays video games, mostly;
- Admits the better values of the elders, but does not imitate them;
- Faults the tolerance level of its elders on everything from homosexuality to immigration reform, and has a tolerance bordering on passivity;
- Feels the government, or some central authority, should do more for them.
Please, tell me again, how it is this group is not going to form some kind of social structure?
If we are wise, preachers, before all of us old ones die, will form some kind of ministerial guild, where we seek to discover young people with a call, track them and train them, put some steel in their passivity, cull the pedophiles out of the herd and support the ones who get put out of a job because they have a backbone when the lunatics who run so many churches attack them.
If you have a better idea, run with it. I am running with this one.
Opinions expressed here are mine, not those of the church I serve or any other person.