Lots of older pastors, not many young ones — what’s going on?
- Dr. Harry Reeder: The sexual revolution an ‘all-out assault’ on our culture
- British government resignations signal problems
- What Alan Dershowitz’ shunning says about snowflake culture and intolerance for debate
- Why the Supreme Court’s labor union decision is a win for freedom and education
- Parents denied access to public school sex education materials is shocking government overreach
- Leadership crucial in the church, life
- Reflecting on Independence Day and its meaning
- Justice Kennedy’s retirement and what it could mean for the direction of the country
- How the church and strong families can help adolescents deal with depression
- Should sex offenders be able to adopt?
- What the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly prayer gets wrong
- Is it just? Farm Bill requires able-bodied on food stamps to work part-time or get job-training
- Is Alabama-founded PCA church encouraging gay people to identify by sin?
- Alabama pastor to the suicidal: ‘Banish the thought of destruction. It’s not the answer’, ‘Many’ of us want to help
- How to think about ‘human rights council’ and elitist concept of abortion as ‘human right’
- Alabama pastor’s analysis of immigrant parent-child border separation controversy
- James Comey echo of J. Edgar Hoover — amassing power, declaring himself moral authority in FBI
- Historic North Korea Summit explainer and backstory
- News Fatigue? How to think about abundance of 24-hr ‘news’
- Where do you turn when your church strays from your faith?
- Unreal — Medical how-to book for counseling ‘religious’ women that abortion is okay
- Remembering RFK
- It’s inexcusable Clinton didn’t personally apologize to Lewinsky
- Planned Parenthood ignores crime in singular pursuit of death culture
- Do we really want a society that says ANY sexual behavior is fine?
- Reflections from Israel — and how it has changed in the past 30 years
- How to think about ‘aging pastors’ and ‘scarcity’ of millennials in ministry
- What does Christian liberty mean?
- Oh boy … Americans don’t think they sin very often
- How ‘church growth at all costs’ mentality weakens worship
- Should Facebook be the ‘new church’ and ultimate hate speech judge?
- How to think about Memorial Day
- When did marriage, parenthood become about self-fulfillment?
- Government branches must hold each other accountable, not circumvent each other
- Why Christians should visit holy lands
- Making sense of Trump’s negotiations
- Why Trump was right to move embassy to Jerusalem
- Stay married through ‘hurricane’ years, struggles — it’s worth it
- Insanity: NYC mayor wants to enable drug use
- Why it’s crucial that parents examine college faculties
- Why Marxism is cool again — with people who don’t know of its horrors
- A pastor’s perspective on Alabama Attorney General’s ‘Faith Forum’ at Briarwood
- Does archaeology prove or disprove the Bible?
- Don’t get hung up on church numbers — focus on church health, not size
- In the U.K., you only have value if you are wanted
- Startling number of Christians are persecuted around the world
- What is North Korea’s motivation?
- PARENTS: Who is teaching your child, the iPad, the teacher you disagree with, or you?
- Alfie Evans and the ever-encroaching overreach of the state, diminishment of parental rights
- Randa Jarrar and free speech
- Proposed California law will lead to persecution of Christians, possible outlawing of Bible sales
- How should Christians think about Trump’s North Korea stance?
- Barbara Bush and the unique legacies First Ladies leave
- Paul Ryan is understandably ‘bone-tired’ — but I do wish he could stay
- Why the Syrian strike was justified
- Christian colleges: Will you fold under cultural pressures or actually BE what you say you are?
- Transgender chaos playing out as predicted
- Does Facebook smoosh conservative posts? YES. But regulation is not the answer
- What Toys ‘R Us, colleges, and social security have in common
- College class gets it terribly wrong. Christians aren’t privileged — Christianity produces privileges for everyone
- Gender chaos leads to societal chaos
- Cultural Marxism: Do you know what it is and how to fight it?
- How parents can combat Planned Parenthood’s shocking deviant sex education
- Sorry and all, but yes there is a Heaven and Hell
- When elected officials campaign on promises they don’t keep
- Does archeology prove the Bible is true?
- Are the millions of lives lost to abortion less important than lives lost to gun violence?
- We must not sacrifice consistent morality for political pragmatism
- Why do Christians call Christ’s death ‘Good Friday’?
- Single parenthood may be a heroic struggle, but it’s not ideal and shouldn’t be promoted
- Freedoms of speech, religion go hand in hand and are being threatened — even in Christian college classes
- States are trying to criminalize the free speech of those seeking to protect unborn life
- Christian movie revenue shocks Hollywood, blows past estimates — here’s why you need to see it
- Care about free speech? Keep your eyes on Supreme Court dealing with California abortion law
- Why pornography is far from ‘victimless’ and how to quit using it
- Cultural Marxists are using schools, courts to target Christianity
- No, Joy Behar, it’s not a ‘mental illness’ when the Lord speaks to us through his Word
- Despite what Washington Post writer says, Down Syndrome children are only undesirable to selfish, arrogant people
- Facebook’s ‘fact checker’ says the killing of unborn babies in abortion is a ‘disputed fact’
- Be sure your (Twitter) sins will find you out
- Reasons for pro-lifers to rejoice — and double-down — on abortion issues
- How to debate with decorum … and why profane, vulgar arguments reveal weak arguments & minds
- WAKE UP: Pornography is not victimless — it destroys lives and kills people
- Persecution, violence against Christians significantly increased world-wide in 2017
- 3 things contributing to the U.S. drop in life expectancy
- Gov’t attempted to silence this Christian who’s bringing Martin Luther King’s fight to modern times
- Iranian Christians fleeing persecution should get U.S. care and refuge
- What we can learn from the Alabama & Georgia quarterbacks’ post-game responses
- What does academic intolerance of real debate mean for free speech?
- Do you know the frivolous programs your tax dollars fund?
- Blaring Bannon coverage begs question: What’s happened to journalism?
- Call to Christians: Engage in politics & evangelism out of love for neighbor
- New York City votes to fine Biblical counselors for gender dysphoria therapy
- 10 campaign promises Donald Trump kept — or attempted to keep — in his first year
- Is it pointless to make New Year’s resolutions?
- The top 11 news, faith and culture headlines of 2017
- American attitudes about children contribute to our shrinking birth rate
- Here’s what Trump got right (and wrong) in his national security speech
- Tax reform explained: How it helps our culture, our families, our economics
- Advent and Christmas, ever wondered what’s the difference?
- Reformed Christians have lost one of their great theologians, pastors
- The 2 ungodly reactions to politics, current events that Christians must avoid
- Want our trust? The 7 things an elected official MUST do to gain it
- Christian voters faced 4 options in Senate race … only 1 is inexcusable, says Evangelical pastor
- Where the death culture leads: Lawsuits over disabled children who ‘should’ have been aborted
- What’s at stake in the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court decision
- How to put Trump’s U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem in historical and biblical perspective
- Pastor Harry Reeder: There is hope and a way forward for the Matt Lauers in our lives
- Pastor Harry Reeder: If Supreme Court gets Colorado cake baker, same-sex marriage case wrong, it will be culture tipping point
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Liberal ‘Christianity’ is antithetical to Christianity
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Abortion industry ‘doulas’ try to normalize killing of unborn, but we know abortion is not normal
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Trump’s judicial nominee list shows his commitment to originalists and constitutionalists
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Some evangelicals disagree, but here’s why it’s good to emphasize church celebrations during Christmas
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Our military is weakening and here’s why we need it strong
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Why would we be surprised when culture lives out sexual sin it has promoted for years?
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Churches must stay on-mission as evangelists, not cultural acceptance-seekers
- Pastor Harry Reeder: The Museum of the Bible is a great idea…provided we don’t worship the Bible
- Harry Reeder on sexual reckoning: Our conscience tells us ‘something’s wrong here’ even while our culture promotes sin
- Reeder: We have to be honest despite history rewrites– Pilgrims gave thanks to God
- Reeder: It is ‘absolutely ludicrous’ to think a mother’s absence in crucial first 3 years has no effect
- Reeder: Australian same-sex marriage survey a ‘profile in cowardice’ not courage
- Reeder: Believers ‘speaking up’ made real difference in adoption tax credit provision
- Reeder: Secular culture wants more than ‘tolerance’, insists upon abortion and sexual anarchy ‘celebration’
- Reeder on Roy Moore chaos: ‘Do the next right thing’
- Reeder: Here’s what Christians should say when traditional marriage views are labeled ‘bigotry’
- Reeder on church leaders not meeting privately with the other sex: ‘I’ll take the criticism….I learned it from Billy Graham’
- Reeder on LGBTQ campus activists: ‘They don’t want to debate what a marriage actually is. They want to silence those they cannot answer.’
- Yes, it’s ridiculous there’s a new religion dedicated to AI….but here’s why it matters
- Feeling any Christmas guilt? Here’s the type you should ignore and the type you should face
- Reeder on Tuesday’s elections: ‘To see this as a referendum on Trump is overstating it’
- Two terminally-ill patients who refused assisted suicide to help others & show life’s sanctity
- Lots of older pastors, not many young ones — what’s going on?
- Commercial Surrogacy: The objectification of child-bearing
- Elitist ‘gender-isn’t-real’ culture has descended into sophisticated imbecility
- Chaplain who refused marriage retreat to same-sex couple is up against elite culture enforcers
- Sen. Booker’s grilling of Pompeo prime example of ‘religious test’ to exclude evangelical Christians from office
- GENDER ABSURDITY: A nation, led by pop culture, descends into chaos
- How culture rot happens: Unthinkable –> Laughable –> Thinkable –> Accepted
- How Christians should submit to the government’s law
- How to avoid going ‘wobbly’ on the truth
Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I would like to take you to a new Barna study that was just released. As the average pastor grows older in America, churches say they are struggling to find young Christians who want to become future pastors.
Today, half of American pastors are older than 55. In 1992, less than a quarter of pastors, 24 percent were that old. Pastors 65 and older have almost tripled in the last 25 years from 6 percent to 17 percent. Meanwhile, pastors 40 and younger have fallen from 33 percent in 1992 to just 15 percent today.
HOW TO REACH MILLENIALS
DR. REEDER: Barna is saying, “This is evidence that younger men are not being called into the Gospel ministry. That is a point of concern,” which I would agree with him if I thought that was the only thing contributing to this – that, for some reason, the call to the ministry is no longer being extended to young men that God is calling or that there is a decreasing number of those available to be called to the ministry.
I do believe that there is a challenge right now that the evangelical church needs to embrace concerning reaching the millennials. I don’t think you reach the millennials by embracing the culture that surrounds the millennials, but by embracing the millennials that are finding that that culture is empty and bringing a Gospel culture to them.
Having said that, what about these statistics, themselves? Let me give you four other reasons why this is true. This is true in almost every demographic of vocation at the moment and the reason why is you’re looking at the Boomer generation. The Boomer generation is this gigantic demographic ball that is working its way down the timeline.
Think of a python that swallows a mongoose and watch the mongoose work its way down the length of the python and that’s the way that the Boomer generation has been – that post-World War II extraordinary baby boom that we had. I’m a part of it – I was born in 1948.
Me and my compatriots that were born after World War II all the way up until the mid-1950’s have been called the Baby Boomers, this extraordinary population bubble has changed everything – changed the way you did junior high and high school. It changed churches – all of a sudden, there were now youth groups. There weren’t any youth groups before this.
Well, it’s true in the ministry: There was an extraordinary amount of young men and women giving themselves to vocational ministry and, particularly, those who were called to Gospel ministry, specifically, and so that’s just a large bubble.
Well, that means, when you get to the end of their ministry life, which is where most of them are – most of us are – now in our 60s and late 60s, well, that’s just going to be a large demographic statistic. That’s why you’ve got this large number of, “graying” gospel ministers.
PASTORS LIVING LONGER
And, secondly, the old age of 65, people are living longer now. The average death for men has now risen to somewhere between 76 to 78, which means that people are going to stay active longer.
Thirdly, people are healthy longer. Tom, I have been through three different surgeries. I have as much energy as I have ever had, but in the last two years, I have been through three surgeries that could have been life-ending 20 years ago.
Instead, they’re not only life-extending, but energy-renewing in my life. I’ve got amazing energy at my age, in the late 60s, that most people would not have had. I remember looking at people in 60s and 70s and they not only looked older, they acted a lot older.
I’m just using myself as an example: I walk/jog and I do four miles every day. Well, that just wouldn’t have been done years ago. An older person might have taken a leisurely walk, but today we’re much more active physically, which means we’re going to be active vocationally.
We’re not only living longer, we’re more healthy as we live longer and, therefore, want to stay engaged longer.
EVANGELICAL MINISTRY THRIVING
And then, fourth, there is an ecclesiastical and, therefore, theological issue to this. Tom, I’m engaged in the Gospel Reformation Network and you ought to see the young ministers in our Gospel Reformation Network. I am related to the TG4, Together 4 the Gospel, and you ought to see the thousands that come to the conference of young Gospel ministers that come to that. And then I am also on the council of the Gospel Coalition and you ought to see the multiple thousands that come to our conference.
Tom, I believe this: there is no shortage of young ministers in the evangelical segment of Christianity. Go look at the mainline churches and there are very few people going into their ministry. Why? Because why would you go into the ministry? What is believed by those churches is no different than what you can do in a secular vocation – there’s nothing drawing to it, there’s nothing significant to it, there’s nothing distinctive – and there is where you see the plunge in numbers, not in the evangelical wing of the church so much, but in the mainline Protestant and in the Roman Catholic element of the church.
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, one of the statistics that Barna brings up, 7 in 10 Protestant pastors say young leaders seem to think other kinds of work are more important than vocational ministry. Even though the statistics aren’t as dramatic in the evangelical circles, do you find that true?
DR. REEDER: I just don’t. I just don’t. I’ve got 14 young men I meet with once a month who are moving toward the ministry. This last month, two young men were just ordained and installed into the Gospel ministry.
I am on the adjunct faculty of two seminaries – Reformed Theological Seminary and Westminster Seminary – and our numbers are up. Those are evangelical seminaries, utterly and fully committed to the inerrancy of the Word, the reformed faith and the vibrancy of it. No, I don’t see it.
Now, I believe that we’ve got a challenge reaching the millennial generation – and I believe that that challenge is profound – and that means the number of those out of that generation called to the ministry.
But, overall, no, I don’t see that. It’s not because I’m living in a fool’s paradise. It’s anecdotal and it is statistical. I read the statistics of my seminary so you watch our Reformed Theological Seminary keeps expanding its campuses, Westminster Seminary keeps expanding its reach and its outreach, Third Millennium is expanding, also, the way it is training pastors in the international world.
CAN’T BE WARMED OVER CHRISTIANITY
And, by the way, to the evangelical world, the key to us maintaining and growing the vibrancy to the millennial generation is not to compromise our message to fit their culture, but it is to bring a Gospel message distinctively.
They already see the emptiness of the social media-driven culture and its paltry notion of friendship and its paltry notion of community.
They’re desirous of community that is meaningful, that has substance to it, and that’s what we should bring, the glory of a transcendent God who dwells among His people and who receives us just as we are, but never leaves us just as we are, saves us by His grace, forgives us of our sins, is at work within us, uses the means of grace – of preaching, prayer, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship – and God-centered worship, not warmed-over musical concerts and calling it worship.
When we begin to engage in the vibrancy of an evangelical witness that is Gospel-driven and centered and Biblically-framed and vibrant with the empowering power of the Spirit of God, that’s what will reach the millennial generation and I see it, I’m experiencing it, and I believe our best days are ahead of us if we stay on Gospel message, in Gospel ministry and on the Gospel mission of making disciples of all the nations.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.