WNCC Clergy Stats – Part II


Thank you to Lovett Weems (via Facebook) for sending me to the report below.  (I apologise for the name dropping but I thought it was cool how social media can bring ideas/people together and that Weems does check, update, and communicate through that medium.)
As you can tell by the image here, the younger clergy has increased by 1% over these last decade.  This is good news that there has been a decrease but we are not seeing the numbers for people to hold a steady number of clergy as Baby Boomers retire and pass away.
This report came out last May and has probably been discussed elsewhere on the web.  What I learned as I read through it was the data which I got from my conference (Western North Carolina) equaled what the Lewis Center published.  They were able to pull data from the entire denomination within the US.  Not only can you look at how your conference matches up with others but you can see the denominational trend.
For example here are two graphs from their report.  This one gives the Median, Average, and Mode Ages of Elders in our denomination.  (There is information on deacons and local pastors as well in the report but I will concentrate on Elders on this post)  Our median and average age as a denomination have increased dramatically over the last 26 years.  As a denomination, we have moved from middle age to getting an AARP card.
Taken from the Lewis Center report on Clergy Age Trends in the UMC 2011


This graph shows the number of Elders and their age breakdowns over the last 26 years.  There has been a 70% decrease in the number of Elders under 35 within these years, going from 3,219 in 1985 to 951 in 2011.  This also watches the young clergy of 1985 move across the spectrum into the last column of Elders aged 55-72.  They move from being only 15.06% of the clergy population to 51.84% of it.  I believe that movement will have a dramatic effect on how the transition of power will go over the next decade or two.  (more of that to come)
Taken from the Lewis Center report on Clergy Age Trends in the UMC 2011
To bring this to a conference level, it was interesting to see that the Western North Carolina conference has the most Elders of any other conference with 762 and a total of 1,081 when you include Deacons and Local Pastors.  The next closest conference is Virginia with 670 Elders and a total of 979.  That puts WNCC 92 more clergy than any other conference in our nation.  Yet we are not even in the top ten of conferences when it comes to the number of clergy under 35 (Young Clergy).  With the dramatic changes coming to our conference (going from 15 districts to 8 by 1/1/13) and over the next decade within our leadership, it will be interesting to see how we approach these changes.
Here are some other things I found interesting that came out of the report.  Read on if you are needing a nap.
Here are the Top Five Conferences of Total number of clergy:
1. Western North Carolina = 762
2. Virginia = 670
3. North Georgia = 578
4. Indiana = 565
5. West Ohio = 556
1.North Georgia = 58
2. Virginia = 48
3.Alabama-West Florida = 37
4/T. Oklahoma = 35
4/T. Tennessee = 35
Local Pastors:
1. North Alabama = 333 (almost a 1 to 1 ratio between Local Pastors and Elders)
2.North Georgia = 313
3.Virginia = 279
4.Western North Carolina = 271
5.Mississippi = 262
Here are the Top Five Conferences with the Total Number of Clergy under 35:
(includes all Elders, Deacons, and Local Pastors) 
1. Virginia = 77
2. Western North Carolina = 74
3. North Alabama = 57
4. North Georgia = 65
5. Mississippi = 55
Here are the top ten conferences when it comes to the percentage of Young Clergy midst:
1. Oklahoma
2. Holston (# 1 in 2005)
3. Mississippi (# 1 in 2010)
4. North Alabama
5. Kansas West (new to the top 10)
6. Central Texas
7. Virginia
8. Texas (new to the top 10)
9. North Carolina (new to the top 10)
10. Northwest Texas (new to the top 10)

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