80% in 5 Years

by Jason Moore on October 19, 2009

So I’m reading my October copy of TableTalk magazine and I see this ad. Nothing particularly exciting about the design of the ad; Although it was well designed. Ligonier’s stuff always looks clean and is well thought out. What struck me was the content.

Below the “title” of the ad, there is contained this chilling message

80% of seminary and bible school graduates leave the ministry within the first 5 years.

Eighty percent. Why is that? And what can we do about it? Through Ligonier Academy of Biblical & Theological Studies, we will be able to fulfill a great need that exists among Christian pastors – the need for lifelong, continuing education from world class pastors and theologians. The need for direction and leadership. The hope for fulfillment through the glorious work of God. We are excited about the future because we serve a great and sovereign God. And we know what we are called to do. The church needs reformation. Ligonier Academy can help.

WOW. Needless to say, while  I understand it’s an ad to draw people to their program, I was blown away at the stat. Rather than have any body text, maybe it would have been better to draw them to an online site called 80percentin5years.com … Regardless of the strategy in delivery, the fact is chilling. What does cause it? What do you think? Is it a lack of calling on peoples lives that are going into ministry? Or are we so weak in our faith, that we run at the first sign of trouble? Are we trusting in the Lord for Salvation, but not our day-to-day struggles? Is that even possible? Is there sin that removes our eligibility from serving in this area?

What if the apostle Paul walked away from ministry after only 5 years? Eek. The Lord’s will is going to be fulfilled but how many believers are disqualified, a la 1 Cor 9:24-27?

I don’t know the answers. I am only guessing. But people that know me, know I would like to see some sort of FT ministry opportunity come into the picture for me, should God’s will be done and He be glorified. I wait patiently. What concerns me is the failure rate. Are God’s people that self-sufficient? That’s a mirage. Each believer has no sufficiency in their self. Each situation must be specific to the person’s involved but is it fair to say that it exists because of a lack of sensitivity to the Lord’s will?


Let us be in prayer for our pastors and servants. Lord give us ears to hear and eyes to see.

if you want to check out more on Ligonier Academy, click here.

(originally published in October 2009 issue of TableTalk Magazine…meaning, I didn’t come up with it, or own it. All rights belong to Ligonier Academy)

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