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Survey quotes

By Observer Staff

To attract new ministers, the United Church should . . . 

“Advertise in more places, more often (e.g. Media, buses, billboards).” 
—Female layperson (50-64), Ont.

“Ministry is a calling. Individuals need to be called by God rather than advertising!”
—Female layperson (50-64), Yukon 

“Take a cue from our history and hold youth rallies like the ones held in 1949-50 across the country to inform and recruit people.”
—Male retired minister (75+), Ont.

“Encourage youth to take part in church as ushers, readers and board members.” 
—Male layperson (65-74), Nfld.

“Ministers could talk it up if they feel it is a good career. Congregations need to be more open and welcoming to make the job more attractive.”
—Female layperson (50-64), Man.

“Make clergy more visible in the community, to show that we don’t fit into an outdated stereotype from the 1940s and ’50s, to show that we’re human and approachable.”
—Male minister (35-49), N.B.

“Address the problem of huge debts after graduation, with poor salaries with which to pay them back. Ask youth how they would like to see things changed.”
—Male minister (50-64), Alta.

“Include training to seminarians on helping people to discern their gifts.”
—Female minister (35-49), Ont.

“Limit the number of points under one pastoral charge in rural areas to prevent burn-out.”
—Female layperson (65-74), Sask.

“Create a good audio-visual resource to put on YouTube and to have available for congregations.”
—Female minister (50-64), B.C.

“It’s not as much about attracting new ministers as it is about listening carefully to where God is leading the church. Note what inspired leaders of the ‘now’ are doing (e.g. camp staff, mission leaders) and ask what their vision is for the direction God is calling us in.”
—Male minister (50-64), Ont.

The qualities of an ideal minister include . . .

“A close relationship with God. The ability to discern truth in today’s environment, and the courage to speak truth.” 
—Male layperson (50-64), Ont.

“Entrepreneurialism, care for the least and last, creativity and lots of energy.”
—Male minister (35-49), N.S.

“A genuine liking for rural people and an awareness of the various challenges they face, both in terms of their livelihoods and their faith communities.”
—Female layperson (65-74), Man.

“The ability to be down-to-earth, not pompous.” 
—Male layperson (65-74), Ont.

“A thirst for lifelong learning into the mysteries of God and our response to them.”
—Female minister (50-64), Ont.

“The ability to work with others, and to make it easy for others to work with him or her.”
—Female layperson (75+), B.C.

“Comfort with ambiguity.”
—Female minister (50-64), Ont.

“A well-read background and an awareness of current theological trends.”
—Male layperson (75+), Sask.

“Good oratory skills and a flair for the dramatic. The ability to understand and preach change.”
—Female minister (50-64), Man.

“A willingness to be pro-active in growing the church. The minister should be outgoing and friendly, with a strong desire to bring new families to the church.”
—Male layperson (25-34), Ont.

“Friendliness and an orientation towards ecumenism.”
—Female layperson (75+), Nfld.

“The ability to challenge the congregation to be active in the community.”
—Male minister (35-49), Ont.

“Time-management skills, people skills and patience.”
—Female layperson (50-64), Sask.

“Lots of capacity for learning and growth. Open-mindedness, but with standards and personal ethics.”
—Male minister (25-34), N.B.

Good preaching . . .

“Relates the scripture to the life lessons of today and doesn’t take the scripture literally! It is not the ‘Word of God.’ It was written by men thousands of years ago! Teaches the scripture within the context of the time it was written.
—Female layperson (65-74), Sask.

“Creates a sense of relationship with the hearers.”
—Male layperson (75+), Que.

“Makes the congregation think outside the box.”
—Female minister (50-64), Alta.

“Allows people with different levels of education and comprehension to all take something away from the message.”
—Female layperson (50-64), Que.

“Includes the minister’s personal stories and brings the text alive. Includes creative or visual elements sometimes.”
—Female minister (35-49), Sask.

“Is passionate and contemplative.”
—Male layperson (18-24), Ont.

“Is intellectual and based on critical thinking.”
—Female layperson (65-74), N.B.

“Helps people to see themselves in the story.”
—Male minister (75+), Alta.

“Is authentic. If the congregation doesn’t think the minister believes his or her own platitudes, it is unlikely they’ll believe the message either.”
—Female layperson (35-49), Ont.

“Contains questions not to be answered but thought about.”
—Male minister (50-64), N.B.

“Is not too wordy and not spoken too quickly. The minister makes eye contact with the congregation.”
—Female layperson (50-64), Alta.

“Is based in scholarship but is not academic. It’s truthful and justice-oriented.”
—Female minister (50-64), Sask.

Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!


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