The need for ordained and diaconal ministers in the ELCIC is increasingly evident. Each month in the Canada Lutheran, our church has over 50 congregations seeking pastoral leadership. The length of time to fill vacancies has increased. A recent study of leadership needs reveals that the average age of those currently serving as ordained pastors is 51 years. Half the ordained pastors on our roster will reach retirement age in the next 15 years. Seminary enrollments are not keeping pace with the demand for pastors and diaconal ministers. Thus our church is facing a critical shortage of leadership. The harvest is ready. God calls, "Who will go?"
To address this need, the ELCIC has initiated a recruitment program, It's Your Call. On a Sunday in January, each congregation in our church is requested to give emphasis at the worship service to the need for ordained and lay diaconal ministers. Each member of the congregation will be given the opportunity to name a person who is viewed as having the gifts for ministry, and perhaps a sense of call. At the worship service, each person at church will be invited to submit the name of a man, woman or child who may have the qualifications to serve as a minister in the church. Full-time workers in the church come from our congregations and our families. It's Your Call.
Pastors or other leaders in the congregation will interview those nominated to evaluate their interest in ministry. These names will be forwarded to the synod bishop for further consideration and encouragement. The call to ministry is the work of the Holy Spirit, experienced through an inner call. The call to ministry is also a call through the church that encourages and nurtures gifts for ministry. As a member of the church, It's Your Call.
The It's Your Call emphasis was modeled in the Eastern Synod in 2004. Over one hundred names were nominated as prospective candidates for ministry. Enrollment at their seminary increased markedly this fall. It's Your Call shows great potential for nurturing and encouraging candidates to step forward and offer themselves for service in Christ's name in the church. Each member is a vehicle of the Holy Spirit who calls and equips people for ministry. Please think about those in our congregation and nominate any you see as having gifts for ministry. It's Your Call.