Interesting reading in this week’s Church Leader Insights.
American pastors aren’t as young as they used to be.
As clergy live longer and stay in ministry longer, the average age of Protestant senior pastors has risen to 54—a decade older than 25 years before, when the average age was 44.
Now, just 1 in 7 pastors leading congregations is under 40, according to Barna Group’s 2017 State of Pastors project.
In the new report, Barna president David Kinnaman called the aging pastorate “one of the most glaring challenges facing the church today.”
The pulpit has been graying for decades. In the ’60s, a majority of pastors were under 45. In 2017, most are over 60. The age shift stems from evolving career expectations and difficulty passing leadership on to millennial-aged pastors, Barna reported.
The research, conducted in partnership with Pepperdine University, represents surveys and interviews with 14,000 Protestant pastors.
Older Pastors Staying Put
Today’s pastors are less likely to go from congregation to congregation during their careers. Back in 1992, Barna found the average church tenure was four years, compared to more than 10 years in 2017. (Research by Leadership Network in 2014 indicated that megachurch pastors stay even longer than that; the pastors at America’s 100 biggest Protestant congregations had served for 21 years on average.)
Older clergy may actually have a harder time finding new jobs as they age, forcing them to stay longer. As CT Pastors has reported, when a senior pastor spot opens up, some churches seek out younger candidates who are expected to serve long-term or draw in younger congregants.
Sitting has been branded the “new smoking” for its supposed public health risks, especially for people with sit-down office jobs.
Over the past 15 years or so sitting has been linked with cancer, heart disease and diabetes and even depression. This has led to a surge in media stories on the risks of sitting, even for people who do a lot of exercise.
But is sitting really that bad? Let’s find out.
Then there’s the rise in the popularity of standing desks to encourage people to get off their chairs to improve their health.
But is sitting really that risky? And do we really need standing desks?
What Does the Evidence Say?
In our latest study we investigated if not only the total amount of sitting, but different types of sitting, were linked with developing type 2 diabetes.
We wanted to see if there was any difference between sitting watching TV, sitting at work, or sitting at home but not watching TV.
We measured sitting behaviours of 4,811 British public servants, who were on average 44 years old and didn’t have diabetes, heart or circulatory problems at the start of the study. Over the next 13 years, 402 people developed diabetes.
Once we took into account obesity, physical activity, and other factors contributing to developing type 2 diabetes, neither total sitting time, sitting at work or sitting at home but not watching TV were linked with developing diabetes.
I’ve just started Prayer by Tim Keller but already liking what I am reading. I’m interested to see the impact it will have on my prayer life.
Last Tuesday, I posted a blog entitled “3 Things a Blog Is NOT,” in an effort to clear up some misconceptions about blogging, specifically in the Christian blogosphere.
More and more of my friends are blogging, and I have been encouraged by many who have started blogging for the first time—friends I didn’t even know liked to write!
I’ve been blogging in some form or fashion since I was about 13 or 14, but I never thought I’d be coaching people on blogging as my full time job.
If you’re interested in wading into the blog world, specifically the Christian blog world, here are a few things you should understand about blogs. Blogs are:
1. A way to use your gifts to serve others
A while back, I created this primitive, but helpful diagram to explain to my authors and other blogging friends what “good content” on a blog looks like:
If you’re too far to the left, you’re writing about what you’re interested, but you’re not really serving anybody—this is ultimately self-focused and unhelpful.
If you’re too far to the right, you’re probably serving a lot of people, but you’re not writing about something you’re interested in—this can lead to burnout.
A “successful blog,” pageviews aside, is a blog in which you are using the gifts God has given you to serve people who have needs you can address.
In my opinion, a Christian blogger’s ultimate purpose is to use his or her gifts to serve the Church toward the end of the Great Commission. It’s a simple-to-understand, but difficult-to-keep goal.
Last week I spent time with single adults and couples who will be going to the international mission field within the next several months. I told them my readers would love to pray for them as they go, and they gave me their immediate prayer requests. Would you pray for these requests, and then ask others to join us in praying?
- Pray their people group will be receptive. These folks are walking away from their lives in North America to reach the world. They long for the people to whom they’re going to be ready and open to the gospel.
- Pray for their language and culture study. These tasks aren’t easy, especially for those missionaries who are older. Many are going with fear over this aspect of their preparation.
- Pray for their family and team unity. Veteran missionaries have told them that family and team strife is sometimes the toughest struggle they face. These new missionaries hear loudly Jesus’ prayer for believers to be one (John 17).
- Pray for their children. In some cases, their children aren’t yet believers. In other cases, the missionaries simply want their children to adjust well, love their new home, and be part of their ministries.
- Pray for their own quiet time and walk with God. They know they’re stepping into a spiritual battle as they go, but they also know it’s not always easy to find time alone with God. They want us to pray that they’ll stay faithful.