One of the most common questions that I hear is, “What can the congregation, district and Synod do to recruit more church workers?” Recently, I had a layperson ask me the question, but the thrust was wondering what she could do personally. I had to pause for a second and think. While I responded, I have continued to think about the question. So after a weeks of mulling it over, here are a few thoughts.
- Pray for current and future church workers
Your pastor and other church workers need your prayers. We pray that God would give them the strength that they need to serve faithfully and joyfully. Please also be fervent in praying to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field.
- Get involved in teaching children and youth activities
To encourage children and young people to consider church vocations, then get involved. Many church workers identify a pastor, teacher, or some other adult as being a key influence on the decision to enter church work.
- Ask youth and parents to consider church vocation
Encourage both promising youth and their parents to consider church vocation. Some families have never considered such a possibility, while others may just need to hear affirmation from someone else.
- Take summer trips to CUS campuses
I would love to see vans of district youth traveling to a different Concordia University each summer. This is a great way congregations can work together to raise awareness of our Concordias and church work. You could be the person who takes the lead.
- Identify fertile ground
Lutheran elementary schools and high schools, Lutheran camps, and district and National Youth Gatherings are filled with involved youth. Promote and support these opportunities in your congregation.
- Financially support church work scholarships
We provided $105,000 this year in church worker scholarships. If you would like to contribute to the Missouri District Scholarship Fund, please send your checks made out to “Missouri District” to the district office and write “Scholarship Fund” on the memo.
- Speak positively about church work
St. Paul describes the pastoral ministry as a “noble task.” You have the opportunity to show that it is important and valued work. When we speak about the eternal significance of these callings, it helps us attract the best and brightest to this profession.
- Support current church workers
When youth and families see great support for church workers, it makes this feel like a more legitimate career choices. Congregations and schools can offer adequate salaries and even financial assistance with school debt. If you would like more ideas, contact Rev. Gene Wyssmann (email@example.com).
- Fund costs of church recruitment event
Both seminaries and Concordia University Chicago host events for youth considering church vocations. If you want to help recruit church workers, suggest to your pastor sending young people to one of the events and offer to cover some or all of the registration and travel costs.
There is no single solution to the challenge of raising up the next generation of servants in our
congregations and schools. However, we can together pray for those who currently serve and those who will follow them. But we can also help to do our part to involve children and youth in activities within the LCMS, where service to the Church is modeled and encouraged.
Caring for our current church workers is a way to show the value of church work vocations, but it’s also simply part of our responsibility as congregations. Lastly, when we work together (as individuals, congregations, circuits, district and auxiliaries such as Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and Lutheran Laymen’s League), by God’s grace, we are able to address this pressing need for our congregations and schools. May God bless us as we work together to that end.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan