One to the exciting things about being a part of the Evangelical Free Church of America is the pastoral care and strategic networks that the national team puts together to resource and encourage pastors in their roles. From mid-winter theological ministerials where deeper theological discussions take place to networks of pastors gathering together in learning communities and local prayer cells uniting pastors.
A few weeks ago, I and about 25 other pastors gathered in North Carolina to discuss ministry issues in our churches. We were part of what the Free Church calls TEAM 500, a group of pastors of churches between 500-1000 in size and we had come together to learn from one another, support one another and pray together. It was a great time of learning and fellowship. Bill Hamel, president of the EFCA who also attended recently wrote to the group about a transition that most of these churches are going to go through in the next decade. Here’s Bill’s comments:
During our time at the Team 500 gathering we had a discussion about the need to develop younger pastors and leaders in the EFCA. After the meeting I asked a staff member to look at the age of the pastors in Team 500. This data underscores the importance of this discussion. There will be a change coming in the next ten years with 46% of this group 55 and older.
Team 500 = 130 men
Unknown age = 19 (no record of age because they do not have an EFCA credential)
Under 35 = 2
36-44 = 16
45-54 = 33
55-64 = 52
65+ = 8
Very interesting data and it raises interesting questions for those of us who pastor these churches. Here are three of my application questions not just for myself but for every pastor of every size church.
- Who are you identifying and mentoring as a possible successor?
- Are you identifying and encouraging, developing younger elders?
- Are you praying for God to raise up these disciples?