When you settle into your pew on Sunday morning, you're not likely giving a lot of thought to the demographic changes in the world outside the sanctuary walls. And you probably aren't troubling yourself about where your next pastor is coming from. Yet in many ways these issues will impact the future of your congregation and the church at large.
These issues are coming to the forefront in many U.S. churches. In The Chronicle of Higher Education's May issue, two Princeton [N.J.] Theological Seminary doctoral students challenged seminaries to meet the changes in the U.S. population by revamping how future pastors are educated. The two asked that several questions be considered:
• How do we do ministry in immigrant and ethnic communities?
• How do we prepare pastors to serve them?
• Where do those pastors come from?
• How do we make preparation affordable?
Change is necessary because around 2050 there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the U.S. — it will be a nation of minorities.
This has been a factor in mission and ministry for the ELCA since the 1987 merger. Even before then, it was accepted that the Lutheran communion had to expand beyond its European origins to become more expansive and inclusive, not just in the makeup of its congregations but also in how ministry is done.
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