We Appreciate You
Rev. Joshua Patty
Regional Minister and President
Earlier this month, I came across an interview with Scott Thumma. He is a key leader in the massive Faith Communities Today surveys who is currently conducting a 5-year study on the effects of the COVID pandemic on religious communities. You can read the interview or watch it here.
While the entire conversation is valuable, one thing about clergy jumped out at me. First, his research suggests that only about 3% of clergy have left or have seriously considered leaving ministry. As I've written before, this percentage seems much lower than in other professions. Thumma adds intriguing context -- most of these ministers were serving challenging congregations that had significant conflict or financial challenges even before the pandemic began.
My experience as regional minister supports this too. Through challenges that have demanded quick adaptation by the church and which have caused personal strain, our ministers have continued to serve faithfully. You have been resilient and persistent in representing God's love and inviting others to share and experience God's presence in ways old and new.
A benefit of regional ministry is the opportunity to see bigger trends than might be obvious in our day-to-day ministry work. What you have done collectively is remarkable -- a testimony to your integrity and faithfulness. It's easy to overlook or minimize, but I hope you recognize this invaluable way we have been Disciples Together -- leading God's people through these challenging times. From time to time, I hope that those in your ministry context continue to find ways to show appreciation too.
Thank you for your persistent and faithful devotion to God and God's people -- especially in those times when you have felt inadequate or wondered what you should do. I am humbled and honored to serve alongside you.