Since my farewell tour has been cut short, let me move on to another topic and see if you can read between the lines. It will be hard to do, because I single space here, but you can do it.
Who is getting our pastors their 10,000 hours? You know the theory. A person who works at something for 10,000 hours, a person with reasonable intelligence, will surpass a more gifted person who works at something for 4,000 hours or 6,000 hours.
Who is getting our pastors their 10,000 hours?
I am a high school basketball referee. It takes about ten years to feel comfortable on the court. I am in my tenth year. I have given the craft less than 10,000 hours over my ten years but sometime next year, I will get to 10,000 hours. That is reading rule, case and mechanics books, talking to other referees about situations, organizing my schedule, conditioning and calling games, as well as attending meetings and looking at video, going to camps and the like.
Actually, if you include conditioning, I am beyond 10,000 hours, but you get the idea.
I feel pretty comfortable on the court now. I know the rules, the game and I am in condition. I know when to assert myself and when to back away.
I know the things you do not see in the books. I know TYP, which means Trust Your Partner. I know to point to the bench of the fouling team to report the call in a noisy gym, though the UIL mechanic says we must not do so. I know to point to the floor to show my partner we are not in a shooting position. I know to tell my partner how many subs are coming in during a dead ball in a multiple substitute situation.
I know how to handle a false double foul. I have never seen one but I know what to do if I ever see one. I know all this because I have put in the 10,000 or so hours it takes to have some degree of mastery over a skill set.
Who is getting our pastors their 10,000 hours?
We are in a ministerial crisis in the USA. Southern Seminary says 80-90% of seminary graduates leave the ministry in the first five years. This is with seminary classes in a deep trough of attendees. The average age of a minister in the USA is 55. It seems we have not many years left and not many new ministers coming in behind us.
At some point, we are going to have to do some tough talking about why young people do not wish to pursue vocational Christian ministry. I have a few suggestions; go figure.
We don't have anyone helping them get their 10,000 hours.
I "surrendered to preach" in a small fundamentalist church when I was 13. The church got increasingly fundamentalist the longer I stayed, though, as a teenage, I had nothing to do with that fact. I did not even understand it. I just listened to my pastor, loved him and took every opportunity to go out with him on his duties.
He gave me books to read. He quizzed me on what I read. He put me in front of groups and told me to speak. Like a trained dog, I could sit up, roll over and heel. I got in my 10,000 hours pretty early. I think I pretty well had in 10,000 hours, including one seminary degree and part of another by the time I was 25. I had started a church, preached everywhere, written and studied a lot by the time I was in my mid-20's.
You don't have to like me. Queue up if you don't. Then, I will have you all in a line and can get you with one burst. Regardless, you cannot discredit my productivity and only a fool would question my work ethic. I have put in the time. I have paid my dues. I have produced. All this because someone put me in line to get my 10,000 hours.
Please don't tell me what your seminary, college, denomination, et al, is doing to ameliorate the ministerial crisis. If 80% are leaving in five years, if 1% of all churches are closing each year, if the UMC says it will cease to exist as a denomination by 2025 if they cannot attract and retain ministers, if 80% of SBC churches are plateaued or declining and if the SBC itself is now listed as a declining body, whatever you are doing is a miserable failure. Don't invite me to join your Church Death Movement. Moderates, don't blame the declines on the Fundamentalists, as your churches are declining rapidly without the felt influence of Fundamentalism. Fundies, do not blame the Moderate control of three decades ago, since you look like a complete fool when you make this claim.
Ministers are dying, churches are dying with them and if you are mad at me for writing these statements, you are one of the ones killing the preachers and your church is collateral damage. And, for good measure, you really don't care if your church dies, so long as it does not change during your life time.
I will have a bit more later but I am out of time just now.