Monday, August 9, 2010

Beyond the Facts Ma'am

USA Today recently published an article about an increase in young pastors going into seminary.  While the information in the article was well put together what struck me were the listed reasons for young people suddenly coming to seminary in larger numbers.  In the tagline for the article they talked about alturism, demographics, and the economy being factors.  In the text of the article they focused more on increasing demographics and spent some time on denominational efforts, but even then the focus was on scholarships and other incentives or help.  What went under-represented in my mind was the real reason people go to seminary and more importantly become pastors ... a call to ministry.  While scholarships help people repsond to a call and a lack of money can hold someone back from seminary occasionally, I would like to believe that it is not simply an increase in number of young people in general that has cuased the increase in people going into ministry.  The challnge for the church in the midst of this is to not get caught up in these facts but remember we believe in some other factors as well.  I believe that God calls people to ministry not based on demographics or scholarships or anyhting else, but on a need.  To me the rise in people hearing a call to ministry is thanks in part to the work of denominations that encourage young people to know they can be called but also because God is calling more young people to meet a great need we have in the church.  I am reminded of when Jesus talked about needing more workers for the harvest.  From USA Today's perspective the facts are about demographics and scholarships.  From the Church's it is about people help others repond to the call (like Eli does for Samuel) and about how God is calling more people to the work of the Church.  The real story is not about the facts but about what God is still doing in the Church.