Thursday, August 19, 2010

God's Clearing House

Good morning God,
I wonder how many of our seminaries will be contacted as part of the UCAS clearing process today, after all, every one of them offers degree programs, from Foundation Degrees, through to Bachelors, and even Masters and Doctorates.

This could be a great opportunity for us.

We could advertise for students by suggesting that a failure to obtain the grades they needed for university might just be God's way of 'calling' them to the ministry instead.

No, I'm not being facetious.

We have long since stopped expecting the countries brightest and best to join the ministry. (if we ever did of course) Historically it was once expected that the oldest son of the landed Gentry would inherit and manage the family estate, whilst younger sons would enter the Army or Navy or the Church!
Now, to be truthful, we no longer expect or even try to attract young people of university age into the vocation.


Instead of retreating from the younger generation we need to be courting them: advertising our degree courses, pushing our vocational degrees, even attending the milk-round of graduates and offering them further vocational training to complement their degrees, if they will take a fast-track to ministry.

We should be thinking about our failing Churches and Circuits in the same way that the government thinks about failing schools. It takes good management skills, entrepreneurial ability, marketing and business skills to turn a failing Church into thriving centre for the next generation's growth in grace and holiness. It's time to start fast tracking student ministers in the same way that the state fast tracks student teachers. We need young people, with the necessary skill base who are prepared to take on the challenge of real leadership, to use all the gifts and graces that God has given them, to turn the Church around and bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

Perhaps getting the wrong A level Grades is just the start - try a different sort of degree...

NO - we don't need the young person to be an exemplary Christian first, we don't even need them to have faith - we need them to want to do the work, to want to have faith.
Wesley's lack of faith didn't stop him doing the job.. He was told : Preach faith until you have it, and then, because you have it - you will preach faith..

So for all the young people out there who don't have the grades they needed and who want a real challenge in life: Contact one of our seminaries: Not only might you get a place on a degree course, but the way might be open to a whole new way of life that is deeply rewarding and endlessly fascinating!

You too might be heading up a charity with a turn-over of over of anything from £50,000 to half a million pounds or more a year, managing a highly skilled staff and using your position to make real changes to the local community and perhaps even the world - all within just a few short years of your graduation/ordination...


  1. I love these ideas but am concerned about what we may be fast tracking young people into.
    Stationing would need to be so much better at checking out where there was willlingness to be changed and challenged. People state in in the 'profiles' but when a new minister arrives all she faces is a battle !
    Perhaps we are just 'inbetween times' at the moment, but this is a time surely to be creative, as you say.
    Let us know if you have any interesting conversations from A level students.

  2. Good stuff Angie - I went to college at 22, and was in circuit at 25. The Methodist church paid for my MA as well as training me for minstry, I am glad of it and grateful for it. BUT in Circuit I was completely surrounded by people at least twice my age, expected to adopt their culture, cut off from my own generation and working 60+ hours a week without the time or resources to do the things that young adults do. Young vocations - yes let's go for it! But we need to be serious about what young ministers can and can't do. Blessings: Stan

  3. I love this :)

    As an 18 year old preparing to move into Wesley House Cambridge to study Theology and train for ministry, I definately think we need to not "retreat from the younger generation"!
    It is nerve-racking knowing that I'll be the youngest in college and going to a Theological college rather than opting for a "normal" Uni experience does have its down points but If it wasn't for ministers making ministry (seem) attractive I wouldn't have taken the jump and I think that's really important as many ministers make ministry seem a constant strain rather than one of the greatest life choices out there.

  4. I don't believe the clergy are so desparate to recruit anybody even with no faith this says a great deal about the church and the lack of belive.Be a disciple of christ and look forward to a wage a home no faith required.