You'll note that the most recent numbers are pre-Call Day. The raw vacancy number: 934. But we've got to subtract those from that number that are non-calling (342), "temporarily" non-calling (219), and those placed at Call Day (about 130). So there are about 243 actually calling vacancies right now. Or fewer than 7 per district.
I ask again: How many guys are on CRM? There are two in our circuit. . .
And how much "wiggle room" is good for a church body? That is, how many vacancies should we have to allow for pastors to move around as appropriate and healthy? More or less than 4%? Because, 243 is 4% of our 6,000 congregations.
What if US unemployment were 4%? Would you consider that a strong economy? Would you call it a "labor shortage"?
Oh, by the way. You can see here that we actually have 9,010 pastors. Of whom only 5,359 are serving parishes.
So....there are 243 real vacancies, an untold number of men on CRM, and 3,651 pastors who are not serving congregations. Now, of course that number includes synodocrats and retirees. But are 93.4% of them synodocrats and retirees? Because 243 is only 6.6% of 3,651.
There is no clergy shortage. There is a clergy glut.