I am a young clergyperson in the United Methodist Church.
On April 18th 2013, I found out that FOUR of my young clergy friends in different areas were leaving ordained ministry. I could not stop the lament from tearing at my heart. They are a terrific loss to the church and to me personally.
After discerning what to do with my lament, I decided we needed a way to gather stories of former young clergy, likely-soon-to-leave young clergy, and young adults who never finished the process. And after gathering those stories, seeing if there are common threads.
What follows below is an opportunity for you to reflect on your own experience and decision in terms of your ongoing discernment and spiritual development.
So the first stage is gathering data of young adults (under 35 years old). As I see it, people should be in one of four categories:
- If you are a young clergyperson or local pastor who is leaving your ministry context this year, please fill out this survey.
- If you left ordained ministry as a young clergyperson (say in the past 5 years), please fill out this survey.
- If you are a young laity who left the ordination process or decided not to enter it, please fill out this survey.
- If you are in the ordination process and are considering leaving the process or your ministry context, please fill out this survey.
Guarantee of Confidentiality
We may or may not know each other. I get it if you are wary of sharing personal information. My hope is that these stories will be shared in the public forum with all identifying information removed. I’ve worked with sensitive topics for years and will absolutely honor confidentiality. Any public use will be shared with you beforehand (provided that you give your contact info on the next page).
Especially if you are Category #4 and are considering leaving a ministry context, sharing that you are considering leaving ministry at this stage is highly dangerous and intimate. I get that. So this is my guarantee: any public use will be shared with you beforehand (provided that you give your contact info on the next page). This is only to gather stories.
It will be kept anonymous, and reporting will be made as non-identifiable as possible. Feel free to check with shared friends on Facebook or trusted colleagues in OK, MA, or OR as to my reliability in honoring privacy.
Please share with people whom you know fit the categories above and that will help me gather data and collect stories to share to help young adults in and out of the ordination process find some help and hope–and the rest of us as well.
Thank you for participating.
NOTE: Survey closes on May 15th. Please respond by then.