Pandemic Poverty, Student Ministry, & Making Disciples
At least 97 million more people have fallen into extreme poverty globally since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago, according to World Relief. The number of churches searching for youth pastors exceeds the number of student pastors available to serve by several thousand. And Todd Kaunitz encourages Christians to press ahead with what he calls Jesus’ Plan A – to become disciples who make disciples.
At least 97 million more people have fallen into extreme poverty globally since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago, according to World Relief.
Setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic have reversed about three or four years of progress in the fight against global hunger, with the worst outcomes seen in the poorest countries and among women and children.
At least 265 million people are facing “acute food insecurity” globally, with numbers increasing in at least 20 African countries.
Southern Baptists’ compassion ministry, Send Relief, has seen similar effects from the pandemic. In the last two years, Send Relief has participated in 593 ministry projects with more than 5,200 churches serving 1.5 million people.
A seminary professor says he believes the number of churches searching for youth pastors exceeds the number of student pastors available to serve by several thousand. Richard Ross, a senior professor of student ministry at Southwestern Seminary, says he gets calls from churches looking for candidates on a weekly basis. He rarely has names to share.
Shane Pruitt, the national next generation director of the North American Mission Board, says the same thing. He says he receives calls on a weekly basis asking if there is a shortage of youth pastors in the US.
In a story on Baptist Press, reporter Scott Barkley says there are many possible reasons for the shortage.
There isn’t pipeline of up-and-coming leaders.
Many young pastors are pursuing church planting instead of student ministry.
Sometimes salaries for student pastors are too low for them to provide for their family.
Ross calls on Christians to pray that God will raise up student pastors and encourage them when they believe God is truly calling them to student ministry.
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In a piece on Baptist Press, Todd Kaunitz, lead pastor of New Beginnings Church in Longview, Texas, encourages Christians to press ahead with what he calls Jesus’ Plan A – to become disciples who make disciples. He says there is no Plan B.
Kaunitz encourages Christian to move forward in obedience knowing they have the power and the presence of Jesus as they live out the Great Commission. He says Christians must remember that through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God’s presence is with us. He is Immanuel, God with us.
Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.
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