Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The First Pulpit project...

This idea is just waiting to happen. I believe about two percent of churches could go through a process of discernment and take on a special ministry - to call only newly-graduated seminarians for their very first pulpit, for a period of no longer than five years, and to ensure that minister has a positive experience.

The Lilly Foundation funds a similar program, but seminarians are placed in large congregations, in a multi-staff environment. Smaller churches with only a sole pastor could play this role equally well. The ideal church is likely to be 125-175 at Sunday worship, not riven by conflict, generally healthy, but looking for a new and engaging role or purpose.


  1. This is a great idea, and one that I have heard before. In fact, I tried to convince my first settlement that they should try to do just this thing. Of course, these days a church with 150 people at worship would actually be quite large in many denominations...

  2. Quite true. Many churches in North America average 20-40 at Sunday worship. These "family" churches, less than 75 on Sunday mornings, tend to be set in their ways and are unlikely candidates to be a First Pulpit church. But i wouldn't rule one out entirely.

    Perhaps I might revise my recommendation down to at least 100 on Sunday mornings. There need to be enough people to pay a pastor well. If a church paid above the norm, it could attract the best and brightest seminary grads.