Since the beginning of the church, God has been raising up leaders, pastors, and ministers who are called to shepherd while the kingdom of God advances. We are in a critical time of the church, especially the Western Church, where Christianity seems to be losing its influence, and culture is becoming antagonistic against it. Yet God continues to call young men and women to missions, pastoral ministries, worship ministry, children’s ministry, collegiate ministry, church planting, etc.
Explore Your Call is an effort to mentor, to resource, to network, to build relationships, and to prepare those that are being called. The next generation of leaders has to know we are in their corner. If the church has a real leadership void, then we must ask ourselves what we are going to do about it. Under our care, we have the opportunity to elevate vocational calling, how fulfilling it is, and watch God call out high-capacity leaders. Why should we invest and prioritize such an effort?
We should care because many young leaders are floundering due to lack of mentoring. Busyness will rob us of investing in students that need our time. Many need the guidance of older men and women who can nurture them into effective leaders.
We should care because we are getting older. In “The State of Pastors,” a Pepperdine University study (2017), research showed the median age of pastors to be 54. George Barna did a similar study in 1992. The median age then was 44. Barna’s research showed that one in three pastors was under the age of 40. Today, one in seven pastors is under the age of 40. The percentage of church leaders 65 and older has nearly tripled in 25 years. In 1968, 55%, the majority of all church leaders, were under the age of 45. Today, only 22% are under 45.
Busyness will rob us of investing in students that need our time. Many need the guidance of older men and women who can nurture them into effective leaders.
We should care because those called to ministry will be loyal to the ones that take care of them. If we want the next generation to embrace our purpose, our vision, our doctrine, if we want them to be involved in the mission of Southern Baptists, then we must walk with them during the formative years of calling. The developing years is where they build relationship and allegiance.
Explore Your Call had three meetings during the months of August and September. Over 150 students and young adults participated with over 30 pastors and staff giving advice. Pastors and staff across the state are recognizing the need to take care of our called to ministry students. A website, www.exploreyourcall.com, has been created and is being populated with resources, opportunities for ministry, articles, and future events. A student can register through the website to receive free resources and be notified of future gatherings. Explore Your Call was at many camps across the state this summer hosting meetings for students discerning what God is doing in their lives.
The hope is that EYC will be used in the lives of these young men and women. Jesus’ church will greatly benefit from those that have been mentored in leadership. Arkansas Baptists want to have impact. We want to advance the kingdom. We want to leave a legacy of strong leaders. Explore Your Call is an intentional effort to that end.
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. In the same way, you who are younger, submit to your elders.” 1 Peter 5:2-5