Headlines from First Thoughts

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ring, Ring

Last week, I began series of sermons on the call of God. Unfortunately, we are currently in a vocational ministry crisis. Curtis Freeman, director the Baptist house at Duke Divinity school, states that 30% of Southern Baptist ministers are older than 55 while only 10% are younger than 35. In North Carolina, statistics suggest it’s as low as 7%. For every 3 ministers retiring from serving in ministry, we have only 1 person entering ministry to replace them. To make matters worse, only 1 out of every 3 of these new ministers is even considering a position in church.

God continues to call, however; and this time, someone is answering. Seminary enrollment has increased 47% since 1980. Seventy percent of students now are over the age of 30. They are second and third career individuals, sometimes going back to that role that God first nudged them to do.

We have seen evidence of this at First Baptist Knoxville. Last Sunday, three people expressed publicly that they were accepting God's call to ministry. Two women and one man said, "Yes." All are over the age 30. One is starting a new ministry; one is taking seminary courses; another is applying to seminary.

God is calling, and people are listening.

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