One of the first postings I wrote on BJS had to do with the ongoing pulpit shortage in the LCMS (other Lutherans are suffering from it as well). It seems like this year’s seminary placement will reflect the same problem again. I think if I remember it right, the placement of 2008 had something like 32 men unplaced on call night, and the 2010 placement was very similar (I think 2009 placed everyone, correct me if I am wrong). This year may even be worse.
On top of this, there are still a number of ordained men (larger number than the graduating sem class) who do not posses a call right now as well. These men have various reasons why they have no call, some for good reason (example of resigning due to medical or family concerns) and some for not so good reasons (forced out by illegitimate congregational removal or coerced out by threats from others).
Another contributing factor to men in the field without calls are the cuts in staff at various organizations which has created more ordained men who have a need for a call. The recent postings about the seminary counselors should suffice for an example.
Many of these men, either from the seminary or from the field, have families that they are trying to support. They wait anxiously for that day when another call may come. For many at the seminary, these next two weeks will be filled with concerns over the future. With that in mind, I would suggest that BJS readers commit these people in their prayers over the next weeks:
Seminary Graduates waiting on their placement
Seminary Graduates who may have to make things work in situations not normally given to seminary graduates (worker-priests and so forth)
Families of Seminary graduates (especially wives)
Congregations that are struggling with issuing a call
Ordained men who wait for another call while in the field
Families of ordained men who wait for another call while in the field
District Presidents who are struggling with all sorts of call issues (besides the groups mentioned above, there are men who are serving in pulpits who have legitimate reasons for needing another call)
The Placement Committee, involving both members of the Council of Presidents and the Seminary Placement Directors
Admissions staff and prospective seminarians (whose numbers are bound to decrease with the pulpit shortage)
Faithful members of congregations just at the level of being able to support their pastors, that as the economy worsens they would still see fit to give as they are able to support their pastor
If there are others which I have forgotten about, please add them in comments below.
Stay tuned for more information about placement, and if the congregation you belong to currently supports a seminarian, you may want to consider extending additional support to them if they do not receive a call (student loan payments are usually due 6 months after graduation). If your congregation doesn’t presently support a seminarian, please consider it.
UPDATE: It sounds like right now almost all of the men at seminary have been placed. Certainly an opportunity to thank God, the congregations involved, and our placement committees. The other men out there still could use our prayers and support.