Our Lord Jesus’ words in Luke 10:2 ring especially true today: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Although enrollment at the WELS College of Ministry is stable, and rising applications seem to signal larger classes in the future, the need for pastors and teachers is still very great. Cumulatively, in 2014 and 2015, 85 teacher requests went unfilled and 35 pastor requests went unfilled. Again this year, we did not have enough candidates to fill all the requests submitted. Administrator for Ministerial Education Paul Prange WLS ’88 notes that at the seminary, all 35 candidates received assignments, but 58 requests had been received, meaning 23 remained unfilled. At MLC, 110 candidates were assigned (including 47 from the last few years), but 138 requests had been received, meaning 28 remained unfilled. “There is a critical need for both pastors and teachers,” President Mark Zarling WLS ’80 says. “As pastors of the Boomer Generation retire, we will not have enough young men trained to take their places. During the 1975-85 decade, 550-600 candidates graduated from WLS; 40 years later, in 2005-15, only 367 have graduated from the MLC preseminary track, having four more years of training ahead of them.
“The need for teachers is also critical,” Zarling continues. “We have many vacancies right now, and expansions are being planned that will require even more. In addition, we are prayerfully evaluating more opportunities for teachers in other countries. It is indeed true that there is ‘One Mission, Endless Opportunities’ for young people to be used by the Lord Jesus.”
For example, Principal Ben Troge MLC ’02 at Divine Savior- Doral FL writes: “The Lord has presented us with growing opportunities for Christian education in Florida. And we rely on MLC-trained teachers to seize these opportunities. In the next year Divine Savior will need an additional 6-9 teachers. In the next four years, we’ll need 40-60 additional teachers. If God continues to bless our future outreach and expansion efforts as he has in the past, those 40-60 new teaching positions may very well increase significantly.” President Zarling urges: “Encourage your young people to consider serving their Lord in the public ministry of the gospel. Support current MLC and WLS students with a note or a gift. And continue to pray to our Lord, who gifts us with pastors, teachers, and staff ministers.”