USA - Churches Face Clergy Shortage

Arno Froese

For eight years, Keith Mudiappa accepted the challenges of serving as pastor at his nondenominational Minneapolis church—the 70-hour workweeks, the low pay, the calls from parishioners at all hours—in exchange for the joy of seeing people come to the faith.

But the rewards of the job were tough to come by during nearly two years of online-only services. Late last year, Mr. Mudiappa quit and moved with his wife and children to Florida. He now works at a bank.

Though no national data about clergy resignations exists, an October study from the Barna Group, which studies faith in the U.S., found that 38% of pastors were seriously considering leaving full-time ministry, up from 29% in January 2021. Among pastors under age 45, nearly half were considering quitting.

In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, at least 10% of its roughly 120 churches in Montana are looking for a pastor—and still more don’t have a pastor but can’t afford to hire one. Some are beginning to explore sharing a pastor with other mainline denominations, including Methodists and Presbyterians.

Clergy leaving the pulpit now have more options than they did a quarter-century ago. In addition to those making wholesale career changes, some go into chaplain roles. Others are moving to nonprofits, which usually have more limited hours and emotional expectations.

Mr. Mudiappa said he works regular hours now in Florida and earns almost 39% more. His wife, who also worked at the church in Minneapolis, can stay home with their two children.

“I was always on the phone. You feel guilty spending time with your family, because there are a lot of other needs,” he said. “I’m enjoying weekends now. The weekends used to be chaos.”, 21 February 2022

Arno's Commentary

Seems like the USA is following in the footsteps of Europe. Wikipedia states: “In the 2005 Eurobarometer survey 23% of the Swedish population said that they don’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force and in the 2010 Eurobarometer survey 34% said the same.” The rich and very successful European nations show the least interest in religion, while the not-so-successful nations in the south and east claim a greater percentage of religious faith among their citizens.

A study by found that 34 Protestant denominations closed 4,500 churches in 2019, but 3,000 new congregations were started. 

When one takes a closer look at the various studies and statistics, it becomes clear that most of the information does not represent the true Church of Jesus Christ—the body of born-again believers. Despite the closing of many churches, it is not a determining factor in growth of the real Church. Decisive are the Lord’s own words: “I will build my church.” He then adds, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The body of believers is not affected by church closings.

We take this opportunity to admonish all true believers to pray for their pastors.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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