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The Crisis of Younger Clergy Paperback – March 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 147 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687651093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687651092
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,066,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C. Thompson on March 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book by Weems and Michel analyzes the results of a study completed in 2006 by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. (although supplementary statistics for the past two years have been added to those results). The Lewis Center study gathered data on trends on clergy age in the United Methodist Church, and the results confirmed what many already thought - the number of young adults clergy in the UMC has declined precipitously since 1985.

The reasons for the decline are complex, but it is at least interesting that, for those who do enter the ordained ministry, dissatisfaction and disillusionment are not significant factors causing people to leave the ministry. In fact, an overwhelming majority of those who are in ordained ministry report very high levels of satisfaction with their calling. Instead, it appears that the decline in the number of ordained elders stems from a failure at recruitment.

Weems and Michel offer several reasons why the numbers of those entering the ministry have declined so much, but the real strength of their work here is in offering a thorough analysis of what the church can do to promote a "culture of call" that will make room for the Holy Spirit's call to be heard by youth and young adults in a local church context.

If you are United Methodist and care about the future of the church's leadership, this book has much to offer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin A. Simpson VINE VOICE on May 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Weems and Michel provide a compelling case for the United Methodist Church's growing need for clergy under the age of 35. The number of young clergy has drastically declined over the last 20 years, and Weems believes this is a startling trend. I would assume that some United Methodist leaders would want to dismiss Weems, believing that an influx of second career clergy persons will continue to be adequate for maintaining appointments, but I believe such a dismissal would be a mistake. Weems is right to assert that Methodists need to refocus on youth ministry, cultivate a culture of calling in their churches, and identify young leaders in the denomination who have gifts for pastoral ministry. A vision for young leadership is nothing less than a dire need, and I commend Weems and Michel for providing this study and providing a wake up call for what is indeed a crucial issue in the church today.
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More About the Author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., was born and grew up in Mississippi where he was a United Methodist pastor for many years. His work in Mississippi led the late Willie Morris to describe him as "one of the persons who added much to the growing civility of Mississippi." After eighteen years as a seminary president at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, he became distinguished professor of church leadership and the founding director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He co-edits an online newsletter for congregational leaders available free at the at the Lewis Center's website at