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80 Or 20 In Five Years?
by Larry Lilly
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Larry Lilly's Letter Monday April 9, 2007

Talk about a raft of negative response!! WOW. A Titanic load fits the bill. I merely pointed out that many a pastor/Christian worker feels trapped in a profession which they no longer believe to be their life calling and one reason for the 'trapped' feeling is the degree they hang on the wall is in actuality worthless except among the rather small confines of their particular group and the moment the group marks you worthless, so is the degree, as far as gaining entrance into the real world of employment.

Obviously I did not over the weekend, descend into the very hot lower realm where it was strongly suggested I should and will eventually abide.

The stats I am using for this series concerning the Christian life at large seem to parallel the stats of what is erroneously called the secular world. The stats show that:

"80 percent of seminary and Bible School graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years."

A large number, around the same percentage, of graduating students from 'secular' schools, after about five years are not laboring in the field of their particular major.

Whether the field be 'secular' or religious the results are near the same. Why is this? Most likely because our younger people are not programmed through tough reality in their youth to deal with the way things are. Hence, the high drop out rate professionally, maritally and life itself. I believe it was Henry David Thoreau who stated it well when he wrote:

"Most men live lives of quiet desperation."

In Henry's time it was normal to tough life out in a profession/career, even calling that you did not really enjoy. That's why his statement lingers on. In our day it is not like that at all, because we see from the stats that men and women do not tough it out, but abandon ship. The problem is they are still leading lives of "quiet desperation" largely due to the fact that they do not have the foggiest idea of what they really want to do. And be sure that feeling good about what you are called to do is NOT a very reliable indicator of God's will for your life. Jonah is the text book 101 case.

Years ago a teacher asked her fourth grade class what they wanted to be when they grew up. One was sure he would be a cowboy (Pre Broke Back days), another a policeman, and still another a pilot. Finally the teacher asked Johnny why he had not shared with the class his life ambition when he grew to maturity. Johnny said, "What do I want to be when I grow up? Teacher, I can't even decide what I want to be for Halloween."

I do not believe it is a sin to enter the Lordís work, nor is it a sin to leave it, but the sin is failure to spend the necessary time in prayer, even fasting to properly discern His will concerning you.

Larry Lilly Copyright © 2007 Use with credit.

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Member Comments
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Janice S Ramkissoon 07 Apr 2007
"...but the sin is failure to spend the necessary time in prayer, even fasting to properly discern His will concerning you." I agree with this point. I have seen so many left the church throughout my years. One of my former pastors became a policeman, another gave up the ministry but I don't know how that went, then another who left the church because they didn't feel they were in the right ministry...then I see so many others doing it cow-boy style and in effect leading the sheep away from the fold rather than into the fold. It makes me sad to see the club atmostphere that is taking over all because we chose the parts of the commands that we wish to follow. Prayer and fasting don't even exist as part of some church's programme. Lord Help us!!!!!!!!
J. Austin Bennett 07 Apr 2007
Larry, About 30 years ago, author Studs Terkel wrote a book entitled "WORKING". It contained the summaries of 1000 interviews he did over a short period with 1000 people in 1000 different occupations and professions. A decent statistical base for his conclusions. Terkel found that 98% of folks dislike, and in some cases hate, their jobs. If a man, or today a woman, enters the ministry simply as an occupation or because of the expectations of others (parents primarily), why should we expect the results to differ from society as a whole? Due to the strains and demands on a pastor's life, I am surprised the failure rate isn't higher. If these comments and yours give offense to any readers, I suggest those persons put on "their thinking caps." Unless a man is called by God to this type of service, he should find another, and hopefully more productive, line of work. There is enough destruction and death surrounding us in our world. We don't need a corpse behind the pulpit who hasn't shown the good grace to get buried. Austin
Thomas Kittrell 07 Apr 2007
I do not believe it is a sin to enter the Lordís work, nor is it a sin to leave it, but the sin is failure to spend the necessary time in prayer, even fasting to properly discern His will concerning you.
Larry, this is classic. Happy Easter.


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