By: Bruce Volkert, Principal
Throughout the school year we have put a focus on the next generation of church workers. We have paused to hear from faculty and staff members after many of our chapel services. They share their personal story and journey into the vocation of a professional church worker. Some were led into church work as adults and others knew from childhood that they would one day be where they are today. We are not shy to say why we are shining the light on church work! Our current church workers will need to be replaced some day! We hope to plant the seed that students in our school, here at Trinity, could heed that Call!
Here are some numbers that were recently reported in the December issue of “Michigan In Touch,” a publication of the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. In 2017, 178 churches requested a graduate from our seminaries to serve as a first time ordained pastor. Only 117 graduates were available. Of those, only seven were placed in our district. There are not enough pastors to go around! The numbers for teacher vacancies are even more evident of the need. 546 requests were made by Lutheran schools to our Concordia University system for first year teachers. Only 175 were available and that number has declined the past three year. That means that less than a third of the requests from school were filled by Concordia graduates. Only 10 new teachers found their way to Michigan.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 It is our prayer that students presently learning in our school will be led into this rewarding field. Jesus needs to be proclaimed to families and their children.
There are careers that provide higher pay that that of a Lutheran pastor, a deaconess, a music minister, or a teacher. However, God does provide for His people. It is a vocation with rich rewards. We get to partner with you to spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. It is our JOB to talk about Jesus!
There can be obstacles to entering the field of church work. But, based on the number provided above – there is pretty much a 100% job placement rate! Now that is something! Our church body recognizes the need and is taking steps to lessen the obstacle of finances. Concordia Universities in Ann Arbor, Wisconsin, Chicago, and Nebraska all have programs that offer up to $20,000 to students who are members of Lutheran congregations or are graduates of a Lutheran high school. These scholarships are also extended to children whose parents are alumni or are rostered church workers. Additional awards can be given on top of that. An education at a private Christian college can really be affordable! I encourage you to look online and/or contact the individual university to get information. Prayerfully consider having conversations with your young person about the eventual possibility of them pursuing a career in church work. I can tell you firsthand that it is a worthwhile path to follow! It is not too early for our young people to consider preparing themselves for church work.
Our district has supplied other ways to help. You may visit “HereWeStand.michigandistrict.org” to provide gifts to scholarship funds that assist young people going into church work.
You are invited to receive firsthand accounts of the true rewards of being a professional church worker. Stop and talk to any one of the individuals on the staff of Trinity Lutheran Church and School. They can share their journey and what it has meant to them.