In preparing this issue, we put out a nationwide call to those working with youth: clergy, youth ministers, vestry members, etc. And the response was phenomenal. People care about youth. They care deeply.
However, there is one substantial area in which vestries and others could do more — and that is to help talented youth consider the ordained ministry as a vocation. There is nothing wrong with lay careers; they should be affirmed. But in the Episcopal Church, despite outstanding national efforts by various groups, the clergy are simply growing older. And older. The average age of seminarians is 44, and has remained there for several years. Most people are still ordained between ages 45 and 55. While older people are capable of reaching out to youth and most do, younger clergy are clearly needed.
How about something like this: “You have a lot going for you, and the church could really use your skills. Have you ever thought about a vocation in the church?” or “I know it may be a scary thought, but you would make a good parish priest.” Or seminary professor. Or youth group leader.
Ordained ministry is tough. But the rewards of serving thirty or forty years can be phenomenal, for both the individual and the Church. Think about it. And let’s start talking to our kids about a life of ministry in the Vineyard.