Influence

 the shape of leadership

More than Half of Pastors Hear the Call by Age 21

Majority grew up in church, attended youth services

Youth ministries play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of church leaders, a report from Barna Group suggests.

More than half of all U.S. pastors sensed a call to ministry between the ages of 14 and 21, and most were involved in church at a tender age, according to Barna. Overall, 85 percent of pastors reported attending church as a child, and more than three-quarters participated in a youth ministry as a teen.

There is immense impact when someone comes alongside a teenager who is listening closely to the Holy Spirit.

Heath Adamson, senior director of Assemblies of God Youth Ministries, says these figures highlight the importance of mentoring and discipling future Kingdom workers.

 “One of the great benefits of focused ministry on teenagers is their exposure to the call to vocational ministry,” Adamson says. “Often, we replicate what we see and know. There is immense impact when someone comes alongside a teenager who is listening closely to the Holy Spirit and seeking to discern a true call to vocational ministry. Local church youth ministry can serve this purpose well alongside of parents.”

More than 8 in 10 pastors surveyed assessed their childhood church environment as either very healthy or somewhat healthy. Growing up, nearly half attended a small church (fewer than 200 people); 32 percent attended a church numbering 200 to 500; and 21 percent were part of a congregation exceeding 500 people.

Though the call to ministry often comes early in life, the report notes that fewer young people are filling the pulpits today. Over the last 25 years, the median age of pastors has risen from 44 to 54.

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