I like to tell the story of a conversation with our oldest daughter in the Fall of 2005 as she headed back to college and I was beginning this new ministry assignment. She asked me “Dad, can you tell me about this new job you have and how I can describe it to my friends?” We had a great conversation as I explained that the title of the job is “Clergy Development Director,” and that my work was to do just what the title described. My new ministry is to help with the development of those God calls to be clergy in the church. My daughter responded by assuring me that she understood, and she thought she would be able to explain it to her friends. However, she did raise a couple of questions that certainly resonate in my spirit when she asked, “Dad, isn’t that a pretty big job? Where do you start?”
Clergy Development is a pretty big task when you consider that the scope includes nurturing a climate in the church where God is calling and the called are responding, and then assuring the necessary nurture, education, credentialing, training, continuing education, encouragement, etc as they live “worthy of the calling” (Ephesians 4:1-6). Part of the great news I have discovered is that God is calling record numbers of women and men to clergy ministry and our clergy development work is as great as it has ever been! The final reports for the 2005 & 2006 USA/Canada assembly years indicate that in each of those years we had our highest number of ordinands and new district licensed ministers. These two years were only the first and second time ordinands and newly licensed ministers together totaled over 1,000 people in an assembly year. The 2005 & 2006 reports also indicated that district licensed and local licensed ministers together total almost 6,500 people, nearly all of which are presently in the Ministerial Course of Study towards ordination. And initial 2007 reports indicate we are at that record pace again. As God is calling record numbers of people to clergy ministry, it is a great time to be a part of Clergy Development!
Another part of the great news I have discovered is the many partners locking arms to assure that we will not fall short on something as important as the development of our clergy. There is a tremendous synergy in this effort as our local churches, districts, educational institutions, Nazarene Publishing House, and global ministry leadership partner together for the development of our clergy. I invite you to be a partner in this great work by fostering a climate in your ministry in which women and men hear and respond to the call of God, and by being personally engaged in mentoring them as they respond to God’s call. I encourage you to visit the following websites to locate resources and find out more about what is happening with our partners in clergy development:
● Clergy www.nazarenepastor.org
● Education www.nazarene.org/education/ tabdisplay.aspx
● Nazarene Districts www.nazdistricts.org • Nazarene Publishing House www.nph.com
Let’s together be faithful to the nurture and development of those God is calling!
by Dan Copp
Clergy Development Director