There Is No Teacher Shortage . . .

Actually there are plenty of qualified, experienced teachers. Unfortunately there is a shortage of respect and appropriate compensation, resulting in many teachers leaving the profession. Accoding to this WaPo article:

Experts point to a confluence of factors including pandemic-induced teacher exhaustion, low pay and some educators’ sense that politicians and parents — and sometimes their own school board members — have little respect for their profession amid an escalating educational culture war that has seen many districts and states pass policies and laws restricting what teachers can say about U.S. history, race, racism, gender and sexual orientation, as well as LGBTQ issues.

Teachers don’t enter that profession to get rich. But we are losing committed teachers and it’s our students who will suffer. Our FBC has been teaching high school for 7 years and he loves his students. He gets them paid internships and counsels them about college. What he doesn’t love are parents who threaten him and administrators who don’t listen to him. Maybe he will teach this fall and maybe he won’t.

For what it’s worth, there is also no clergy shortage. Unfortunately there is a shortage of respect and appropriate compensation resulting in many pastors leaving the profession. It’s happening throughout the Church of Jesus Christ.

Pastors don’t enter this profession to get rich. But we are losing committed pastors and it’s our congregations who will suffer. Unfortunately though – unlike in the teaching profession – it’s the congregations who sometimes make it difficult for their pastors to continue. The main issues seem to be:

  • Congregations who can no longer afford a full-time pastor but expect their part-time pastor to work fulltime. It seems like a good deal for the church. It’s unjust for the pastor.
  • Congregations who say “they want to grow” but they truly don’t.
  • Congregations who simply do not treat their pastors (or each other) very well.

Just as gifted professional educators are most concerned with the welfare and development of their students, gifted pastors are most concerned with the spiritual welfare and spiritual development of God’s people.

I’m looking for ways to support our clergy in these unusual times. What can Mid-Councils do to support their pastors? What can congregations do? What can clergy do for themselves?

Would love your comments – if you are a pastor or other church staff member – on what keeps you in active professional ministry? We don’t want to lose you.

2 responses to “There Is No Teacher Shortage . . .

  1. I will say, the last solo pastor position I had could not meet the guidelines for full time salary, but when I got a job as a part time chaplain at the local hospital, they threw a fit and tried to tell me I was not allowed to take a second job because “it would make the church look like they were cheap!”

    Bivocational ministry is the future of pastoring. And it shouldn’t be about “image.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The list should also include Christian Educators, for many of the reasons listed. Largely, they have not had support from presbyteries or mid-councils. After years of struggling many are forced to leave the Church. In a time when Christian Education is so important to the future of the churches, their number is decreasing. Education is a calling that many simply cannot afford to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

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