Today I submitted my manuscript… as in I submitted a book I wrote to my publisher. I am about to go on a journey, one which I will document here. If you are interested in coming along for the ride, I would be honored.
Let me start with some background on myself and why I wrote a book.
I am a Millennial. That means I was born between the early eighties and late nineties. To be specific, I am 30 years old. I became a lead pastor in February of 2016. I wrote this book about my experiences because I became a lead pastor at the age of 28. This was once common some forty or fifty years ago but nowadays the age of lead pastors has been on the rise. So, not only was I regularly the youngest person at church, I was almost always the youngest pastor anywhere and everywhere I went.
If you didn’t know, Millennials don’t go to church by large margins. Only about 17% of Catholic and Protestant congregations are made up of individuals under 30 (source). That’s not great. Even less Millennials become lead pastors. The average age of a lead pastor in the USA is 54, which is an average that continues to climb (source). These stats along with my own experiences inspired me to chronicle my first year. This of course would be the foundation for my book.
Here is an overview of the book from the future back cover:
“Millennials don’t go to church, much less lead one. Well, maybe most don’t. Statistically speaking, millennials are the generation most absent from church congregations across the country. This book is the story of a Millennial who decided not to give up on church and instead decided to lead one. “The Millennial Pastor” is the story of a young pastor’s first year leading a church, a church that decided it wanted to take a risk and try something new, instead of giving up and resigning to the slow decline affecting churches across the USA. Perspectives were challenged, lessons were learned and in the end, mutual respect and an appreciation was gained across generational boundaries. “
I wrote this book because of the concerns I have about the church, because of these truths about it. I am not special, but it would seem my circumstances are. I realized at the end of my first year of being a lead pastor that I needed to capture my frame of mind, that I needed to learn from it and to remember it forever. I realized I needed to document everything that happened, all my success and failures, to see how and where God was at work. I think the church needs to be transparent about itself, that stories like mine need to be shared. I wrote this book originally for my own benefit, to learn from my mistakes so as not to repeat them. I hope that this book becomes more than just a personal journal, but that I becomes something more. I believe it is important for church to hear this story and others like it. I believe stories like this can better inform the church to deal with this potential crisis and maybe prevent it from losing an entire generation from its congregations.
If the church is to survive it needs to take a good hard look at itself and simply ask “Is this of God?” I hope this book continues this conversation. I hope we do what it takes to reach out to the generation that has disengaged, to help better equip our church to train up new leadership, and ultimately, work for relevancy in a world that is constantly changing.
Stay tuned for more of my story and how my pastoral experiences went from glorified journal to published work.