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May 13, 2009


Carol Howard Merritt


I'm so glad you're keeping the discussion going! Thanks so much for your willingness to invest in this conversation.

I want to be clear. I think we need educated clergy. And I am very thankful for the education that I have received.

My hope in bringing this issue up is to raise awareness about what is happening. Young pastors who are starting out do so, not only with seminary debt, but also with undergrad debt. Half of them are dropping out of the ministry, and the #1 reason according to many studies is financial stress.

Forty percent of our small churches can't afford pastors, and they are relying more and more CLPs.

Is this something that our seminaries can help with? Maybe they could do more. But, more likely if we want an educated clergy, we need to talk more about how to pay them a sustainable income in light of their debt load.

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