Understanding Set Apart to Serve
The LCMS has embarked on an aggressive, comprehensive Church Worker Recruitment Initiative. The initiative seeks to form pastors and church workers to hand over the saving faith to God’s people, passing on the Christian faith from one generation to the next until our Savior’s return.
Enrollment in church work programs at LCMS seminaries and universities, for the preparation of both ordained and commissioned ministers, has been declining significantly for almost two decades. If that trend doesn’t change, the Synod will likely face a significant worker shortage in coming years.
For example, 50% of the Synod’s current, active pastors are 55 years or older. If seminary enrollment and pastor retirements continue at their current rates, the Synod could go from 6,000 to 3,000 pastors in the next 15 years.
The Synod has been laying the groundwork for Set Apart to Serve since 2019, with LCMS Pastoral Education taking the lead by conducting initial research, consulting key influencers across the Synod and securing funding.
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