The Solo-Pastor is the Future

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:

  1. The decline of mainline protestantism will only continue, at least for a while
  2. Most churches will become smaller, not larger, being able to afford one ordained minister
  3. 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.