The above graph (thank you Joe Foltz for posting it) is from Pensions and Benevolence Office of the Nazarene Pastors Age distribution in the USA. When I look at this graph I see some disturbing trends.
- Nazarene Pastors are white. Every pastor in the picture is a white guy. The USA is changing. If we aren’t reaching other ethnic groups we will continue to lose our influence in society.
- Nazarene Pastors are male. We are losing our top female pastors (Tera Beth Leach is the lone exception). I believe of the top 100 churches in the USA only one (Pasadena First church and Tera Beth Leach) has a sole lead pastor that is a woman. We need our women pastoring and speaking into the life of the church.
- Nazarene Pastors are old. The largest group of active pastors is over 65. I’m thankful for the wisdom of these pastors but if we are not calling and using our young women and men we will be in trouble in the next few years. The church is dying and will continue to die if we do not have young women and men serving in our churches.
What this graph tells me (again) is that following the status quo will kill our church. We need fresh ideas, new vision, and a mission strategy to reach younger adults. The above graph gives zero indication that the Church of the Nazarene in the USA will rebound from our flat-lined (at best) attendance and growth numbers.
On this Pentecost Sunday, I remind you of a portion of Peter’s sermon: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people, Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18)
Lord, let it be so!