Friday, January 31, 2014

Church of Scotland aims to attract more young leaders

A statement from the Church of Scotland reveals a new push to encourage members of the younger generation to join ministry.

Just last week on 23 January, Michael Mair became the youngest ordained minister at 25-years-old.

Following his ordination at St David's Church in Broomhouse, Edinburgh, the Church of Scotland has now reaffirmed its commitment to encouraging more of Michael's generation to follow their calling in the Church.

"Being a minister is one of the best jobs in the world," said a spokesperson, adding that church leaders play a "key part in bringing communities together".

Despite this, there is a definite gap in the Church when it comes to young ministers, with very few young people taking on the challenging role.

Ahead of his ordination, Mr Mair commented that there is a "dearth of young people becoming ministers", with only "a handful aged under 30" and noting that the average age of a minister is currently 48.

The Church of Scotland has revealed that concrete plans will soon be put into place to attract younger preachers to the Church.

The current lack of young ministers has been attributed to "practical obstacles", and the Church is therefore looking to create "more flexible training modules [and] offer greater financial support" to potential leaders, as well as establishing stronger links with universities.

A group from the Church of Scotland's Ministries Council will present a report to this year's General Assembly, with the aim of rolling out ideas nationwide over the next two years.

"The Church of Scotland aims to see a new wave of ministers enter the denomination and play a key part in the transformation of the Church and its communities," the spokesman concluded.

This is not the first time that the Church of Scotland has committed to tackling the issue.  

Last year the General Assembly released a report in which it established the need to attract more people under the age of 45 to the pulpit.

Presenting the findings, Convener of the Ministries Council Rev Neil Dougall pdescribed the ordination of young ministers as "an important challenge for the Church".

"If the majority of Parish Ministers were in future to retire at 68 (and many earlier at the state pension age), around 320 will have retired by 2023," he estimated.

"We are not seeking to argue that young is better. Rather, that our Church needs the ages of its ministers to be balanced and reasonably reflective of our national age profile."

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