GEN-X RISING: Decline in young leadership threatens Methodism's future.
I wonder if the decline in young people being interested in the pastorate in the UMC is because we've done a rather lousy job as a denomination in terms of supporting our youth and young adults. Many congregations don't affirm the leadership skills of the youth in their congregations, ascribing to the theory that youth should be "seen and not heard." Youth are reduced to "tokens," thrust forward as an example of "See! We have a youth program -- here's a youth right now!"
If the church has botched reaching the young people of my generation, think of how they are failing the youth now. Nothing has really changed in terms of the denomination's approach to young people. Granted, things may vary from Conference to Conference, but New England has done a miserable job in cultivating an atmosphere where youth are valued and upheld as the present reality of our church. There are individual churches who do well at this, however...but they are few and far between. In general, youth are glaringly absent from the life of a congregation. It seems to me that the link between this absence of support and the low numbers of young clergy is fairly obvious.
QUICK EDIT: I would love it if there was some sort of network for young clergy/young UM seminarians planning on ordination. I believe there is a seminarians one among the 13 UM seminaries, but I have no idea who Drew's contact is. Hmph. The website is www.yasn.org.