Pastor Shortage??

My brother-in-law (the second guy in line) is supposed to find out shortly whether or not he will be getting placed at the Call service April 23 at CTS. This is because there are approximately 40 students (so I have heard) that are not getting Calls this Spring. Apparently there are more candidates than there are congregations to place them in. WHAT??? I thought we were in the midst of a huge pastor shortage–Hence the need for the SMPP (Specific Minister Pastor Program) passed this summer. See Priestmanship’s take on this.

So, here my dear bro-in-law has slaved away for four years, as have many others, with a wife and four children, and it may very well be that he could be without a Call next week. Ain’t that nice? Frustrating is the fact that one of the reasons for this is that many congregations, because they lack faith in the Holy Spirit and do not believe that the Word of God is the main thing in the Church, refuse to call a sem grad because they are unwilling to “risk” putting such an inexperienced person into a church position that requires a “much more experienced” person. Can you say: “Crock”? So, you have all these congregations that need pastors, but can’t bear the thought of having to give a pastor some growing room, and cannot bear to grow with him.


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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18 Responses to Pastor Shortage??

  1. Dan @ Necessary Roughness says:

    Wait — so they don’t want to call a seminarian because of a lack of on-the-job experience, but they’re willing to call SMPPs with the same experience as a pastor and much less training?

  2. Scott says:

    Or they don’t want to pay him…

  3. Pastor Beisel says:

    Dan, precisely my point.

  4. saxoniae says:

    Some vacant congregations in my area (one which has run off four pastors in a row) get retired pastors or CSL seminarians to fill in for long periods of time. Maybe the seminary and DP should put a stop to that.

  5. Dizziness says:

    I have heard that the numbers are upwards of 70 between the two seminaries.

    Add to that between 20-30 second-year students who will not have vicarages.

  6. Father Hollywood says:

    They need to stop BSing us about this “shortage” and about how many thousands of new churches we are going to be starting because of Ablaze!(tm).

    Nice fantasy that looks good and plays well in full-page USA TODAY ads that cost a half million dollars, but the unavoidable reality is what we’re actually seeing: retired pastors taking both a pension and a small salary, six-course wonder SMPPs, pastors with dual and triple parishes, and well-trained seminary grads flipping burgers.

    This is what happens when people begin to believe their own propaganda.

  7. Polly says:

    That’s criminal.

  8. Pastor Beisel says:

    I am sure that some congregations have tried calling candidates from the seminary and have gotten burned because the guy gets there and within a year he is gone. That would definitely be bad, and a reason that, were I a president of a congregation, I might advise against this. Also, there are some candidates, I’m sure, who are so picky on where they go, that they are not easy to place. So, there are, admittedly, other reasons that this could be happening. However, as Fr. Hollywood and others have pointed out, it is downright BS that there is a pastor shortage. SMPP was not, I repeat, was not necessary as it was sold to us. We are but pawns in the mighty hands of G.K., a.k.a., Senator Palpatine.

  9. Past Elder says:

    I’m happy to report that my parish is calling a sem grad to be the new assistant pastor.

    This whole “shortage” and SMPP thing is another example of bogus numbers from a numbers-gone-mad hierarchy.

    Geez, maybe I’ll get more Lutheranism the next time I hit Burger King than in some of our parishes.

  10. catechismtic95 says:

    As one who is preparing to attend CSL this summer, this really concerns me. Someone give me some form of reassurance….. 😦

  11. The Dali Lutheran says:

    Here is the question to which I have never received an answer.

    Do the 8 credit SMPP pastors get the same salary as the 4 year undergrad and 4 year MDIV + STM grad?

    If they do, why the heck spend tens of thousands on getting undergrad pre-sem degree. Why the heck spend 4 years on early church, reformation history, hom I, Hom II, vicarage…etc.

    oh, but the pastor shortage makes all things equal.

    The Dali Lutheran

  12. Anonymous says:

    From Mid-south District — notice how many are served by “Deacons” or some seminary lite version of the program.

    1. cost less (or are free)
    2. don’t require Concordia Health Plans
    3. Aren’t so darn difficult when it comes to communion, women doing ministry stuff, and worship styles
    4. cost less


    * Fort Smith, AR – Bethel Lutheran Church


    * Bryant, AR – Friends in Christ Lutheran Church
    * Waldenburg, AR – Zion Lutheran Church


    * Alexander, AR – Immanuel Lutheran Church
    Served by two workers
    * Alma, AR – Our Savior Lutheran Church
    (Served by Deacon)
    * Crossett, AR – St. John Lutheran Church
    (Served by Deacon)
    * Forrest City, AR – Faith Lutheran Church
    (Served by Deacon)
    * Greenwood, AR – Grace Lutheran Church
    (Served by Vicar)
    * West Memphis, AR – St. Paul Lutheran Church
    (Served by Deacon)
    * Chattanooga, TN – St. Philip Lutheran Church
    * Cordova, TN – Grace Celebration Lutheran Church
    (Served by DELTO Vicar)
    * Dayton, TN – Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
    (Served by DELTO Vicar)
    * McMinnville, TN – Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
    (Served by Vicar and Pastor from Heavenly Host, Cookeville, TN)
    * Memphis, TN – Eternal Mercy Lutheran Church
    (Currently served by Rev. Jessie Forrest)
    * Murfreesboro, TN – Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church
    (Served by Vacancy Pastor Rev. Alan Bachert)
    * Paris, TN – Christ Lutheran Church Lutheran Church
    * Seymour, TN – Celebration Lutheran Church
    * Union City, TN – Faith Lutheran Church
    (Served by Deacon)
    * White House, TN – Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
    (Served by Deacon)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Of course Synod is going to push that there is a pastors’ shortage. This was the only way they could get the deacon/lay ministry program, DELTO, and all the rest passed. Now congregational bottom lines are improved and they expect more money will be forthcoming into Synod to make sure Kieschnick and the rest keep their triple digit salaries funded at least until they can scoot off into retirement. Bureaucrats are about safeguarding the bureaucracy that feeds their income. Forbid that the national church body or the professional staff of the purple palace should be cut back when we can cut back on ministry to the folks (like Issue’s) and have the churches settle for something less than highly trained shepherds when any old ranch hand will do in a pinch. Hey keep them dollars coming into Ablaze. Get out them checkbooks folks.

  14. saxoniae says:

    SMPP pastors will receive starvation wages (and no financial aid for the sem courses they take), considering most MDivs aren’t making the recommended district scale.

  15. Dan @ Necessary Roughness says:

    Having been to Bethel in Fort Smith, it concerns me a little that they are calling a new pastor, but I am relieved that they haven’t decided to give in to lesser-trained pastoral care.

    I have four posts from that congregation. 🙂

  16. The Common Sense Mom says:

    So from the mid-south district, we could fill the vacancies of those churches and provide highly trained theologians with a flock to shepherd, taking care of half of the seminarians that won’t receive calls.

    What is WRONG with this picture???? It’s personal to me because my brother might not get a call.

    I’m sure there are many other districts who have the same stats. This is, without a doubt, sinful. Anyone with common sense can see where our synod is going.

    When will the line be drawn in the sand? I can understand pastors not making waves, but there are some doctrinal injustices being committed here that go against our confessions.

  17. ghp says:

    And just today (4/18) Synod sent out an email touting the ‘shortage’ & need to stuff the Sems to the gills with new recruits.

    A salient quote: “With about 100 fewer seminarians than three years ago, and a growing number of retirement-age pastors, “now is the time” for the Synod to get serious about recruitment of pastors, according to Rev. Glen Thomas, executive director of the Synod’s Board for Pastoral Education.”

    Wha? Seems to me the Synod needs to get serious about placement of pastors…

  18. RevFisk says:

    To the catechismatic95ishguy:

    Jesus died for you. Come and die with us! 😀

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