As I continue to think about the future of the United Methodist Church, I’m hopeful that the UMC (and other mainline denominational churches) will attract and retain more young leaders.
To do so effectively would take many fundamental changes. One might include re-evaluating the ordination process.
When I was a UMC pastor, I was an un-ordained “local pastor” for three years, spent four years in seminary (while serving full time at a church) and had two more years before I’d become fully ordained as an elder.
While I appreciate the education and accountability, many younger leaders want to be “in the game” more than they want to leap through lots of denominational hurdles.
Today’s emerging Christian leaders are eager to make a difference—now. Many have already been around the world on mission trips and certainly have a more global and missional mindset than my generation did. If they are tied down to cumbersome process that delays their opportunities to make a difference, they are likely to do ministry elsewhere.