Friday, June 22, 2007

Part time pastors growing in different denominations

Just as Catholics realize that about 500 of our parishes are being run by laity due to a shortage of priests, other denominations are using part time pastors to keep churches open.

The article I've linked to above talks about one pastor who juggles a full time job in the US Army during the week with being a pastor at several churches. He spends his weekends traveling to various services. But, as the article points out, when the needs of parishioners arise, these part time pastors have little wiggle room to attend to that and wind up doing so by sacrificing their sleep.

The Catholic church is emphasizing the need for laity to become more involved in various ministries and more active in parish life as we face a shortage of clergy. This growing trend toward more involvement of lay people in the day to day running of a parish will result in some positive changes.

Perhaps we can frame this as an opportunity to find ways we can best serve God and each other with our individual talents and hearts, rather than seeing this as a deficit. Certainly it makes sense for parishioners with various skills to help overworked clergy in a changing world.

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