How should pastors prepare for the next decade of ordained ministry?
Well, let’s take a moment to consider the trends that are leading towards some specific outcomes:
- The decline of mainline protestantism will only continue, at least for a while
- Most churches will become smaller, not larger, being able to afford one ordained minister
- Pastors are, in general, independent-minded and would rather be the sole leader
If these are true, then the ordained minister of the future will need to be competent in a few areas…
First, digital – that’s everything that has to do with being in ministry via the internet – will be key. While solo may be the future, this is also the era in which one person could do so much through a laptop, mobile device, and camera.
Second, diversity – being able to both speak up for as well as have something to offer for the many – will be a must. It is a temptation to see the goal of sustainability to be synonymous with the satisfaction of church members. But, a genuine ministry foundation for the future will mean embracing the wide breadth of human experience.
Finally, mission – articulating your desire for the world – will motivate growth. People check to see if a ministry shares their hopes and dreams for what life can be like. The mission statement must become a manifesto for the future, beyond an organizing document for the congregation.