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RECRUITING FOR THE MINISTRY
To secure an adequate supply of suitable men for the ministry is the most vital problem connected with the life and growth of the Church of God to-day. The solution of all other problems, to a greater or less extent, must depend upon this. AN AGE LONG PROBLEM All through the centuries men have been anxiously con scious of that fact which so stirred the heart of the Saviour as he saw the multitudes scattered as sheep not having a shepherd, and with him have exclaimed, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few." Because of the strict requirement for her ministry, the Presbyterian Church has suffered in this regard in a peculiar manner. THE NEED TO-DAY A careful survey of the Presbyterian Churches show that we have now 548 vacant churches and need at once 237 more pastors. I* During the period of ten years, from 1908 to 1917, the Presbyterian Church in the United States received each year into the ministry an average of 79 additional men ? 56 by ordination and 23 from other churches. In the same period there was an average annual loss of 55 ministers each year ? 31 by death, 10 by retirement on account of sickness or old age and 12 by dismissal to other denomina tions. Making a net gain of only 26 ministers a year for ten years. INTENSIFIED BY THE WAR P Last year 67 graduates were sent out from our Theolo gical Seminaries. This year 66 will go out into the ministry. There are only 46 men in the second year's class to be grad uated next year and only 40 in the first year's class to com plete their work in 1920. The need for the right kind of men both at home and abroad has been greatly increased by the losses of the war and must continue to increase. THE NEED OF THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE The 1920 class is subject to the draft for service in the United States, as are also the 87 candidates in college. 73 candidates have already entered the United States Army, 16 the United States Navy and 8 are in the Y. M. C. A. work connected with the army and navy. Many others are soon to enter and others of the 461 candidates must take the places in the home and in the farm of fathers and older brothers who have gone to the front. A large number of our ministers have entered the Y. M. C. A. work and others have become Chaplains in the Army and Navy. Robert E. Speer writes, "Hundreds of ministers have been called and hundreds will be called to serve as Chaplains in Army and Navy." Possibly this war will require one Chaplain for every 1,200 men of the Army and Navy. Scores of our strong, young ministers have offered their services to the Nation for this important work and many are being accepted. John R. Mott says of the Y. M. C. A. work, "Of equally great importance and urgency is the enlisting of thousands of men of outstanding ability who are imperatively needed to lead in the Christlike ministry on behalf of the soldiers and silors at home and abroad." THE REMEDY By command and example Christ has made it clear that prayer is the one unfailing means of insuring the requisite leadership for his work in the world. "Pray ye, therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest." When the pastor prays this prayer he must present the claims of Christ upon the lives of the boys and girls. Scores of men and women declare they never heard a sermon on the call to the ministry or mission service. Often the prayer that God will call out from the home of this ch hoy and girl who will serve Him as ministers and m 1 !!"*'"'? ^;*ted. Wheu^" # Ubr*r, .*ayer they should dedicate their sons and daughters _ work, and create an atmosphere in which high and holy aims in life may be developed. Dr. John R. Mott says, "Of the 128 leading preachers of the world during the last five hundred years, all but nine came from homes where conditions were favorable to the development of spiritual life." What is the condition of your home? When boys and girls pray this prayer they should cry from hearts willing to obey, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" The trumpet call of God for a large increase in the number of suitable , trained ministers is loud and imperative. Does the wise God sound a blast which He has provided no ser vants to hear? Keith-Falconer said: "While vast con tinents are shrouded in almost utter darkness and hundreds of millions suffer the horrors of heathenism, and of Islam, the burden of proof rests on you to show that the circum stances in which God has placed you were meant by God to keep you out of the Mission field." When we all pray we must pray believingly and im portunately. "The neglect of prayer at home," says Robert E. Speer, "means defeat at the battle front." When the church prays every means to secure the answer should be used. Churches should be willing to share the time of their pastor with pastorless churches. Greater use should be made of capable elders in tempor arily supplying vacant pulpits. Men now engaged in Christian work in the army and navy should be made familiar with the Church's need. Many of them may give themselves to the work of the min istry. All of them may keep before the men enlisted in the service of the country the great need for capable leaders in the service of Christ. Boys and girls should be kept in the high schools and the colleges of the Church in these critical times. Our Presbyterian Schools and Colleges ? the great fac tories that produce ministers and mission workers, should be better sustained and fully endorsed. - The Student Loan Fund that helps the boy and girl from the poor homes of the Church should be made ample to assist all those who desire to be trained for the finer leader ship. All should obey the call of the last General Assembly: "That parents in our church be earnestly exhorted to con secrate their sons to the gospel ministry and that our Pastors and Sunday School teachers be urged to keep the claims of the ministry as a life's work constantly before the boys and young men of the church." "In this time of world upheavel, and as we draw near the period of world reconstruction, it is clear to me," says Dr. John R. Mott, "that there is no work more important than that of insuring an able, well-educated leadership of the Christian forces." Presbyterian Church in the United States DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FOR THE MINISTRY AND MISSION SERVICE HENRY H. SWEETS, Secretary 122 South Fourth Avenue. ' Louisville, Kentucky .