Mainline denominations have only begun to recognize the alarmingly low numbers of clergy under the age of 35. In my denomination, the United Church of Christ, I am one of only 207 clergy in that age bracket—about 4 percent of total clergy.
While there are many factors contributing to this crisis, few solutions are being offered. Many officials hope that the number of second-career pastors will compensate for the lack of younger ministers. However, it appears that the number of second-career people will not be able to replace the number of pastors who will be retiring over the next ten to 15 years. There will also be many intangible losses when the average pastoral career spans ten years instead of 20 or 30.