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How old is too old for ordination?

How old is too old for ordination?

Shane Raynor offers a podcast commentary on the question of whether the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church is making a mistake in discouraging people over the age of 45 from seeking ordination. He asks, provocatively, whether the church shouldn’t be discouraging everyone who seeks ordination.

The United Methodist Reporter has additional background and commentary on the issue here.

What are your thoughts? Should age be considered as a factor in the ordination process?


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Sometimes we are encouraged by God and others to go through discernment for ordination, but we have to allow time that to become real. I went through discernment in my 60s and was ordained 2 years ago. I retained my full-time professor’s position and accepted a non-stipendiary position to convert a closed parish into an outreach ministry center. It may be an unusual appointment, but one that brings me great joy and fulfillment. The community we are building is growing and there is no doubt its development is being guided by the Holy Spirit. I am grateful that I received the encouragement and support of the diocesan bishop, the Commission on Ministry, and of course, my sponsoring parish. I don’t remember Jesus setting any age boundaries on ministry. Best wishes. Mary Crist, St. Michael’s Riverside CA.


I can think of many of my classmates (including myself) where the call was answered after 45 and has been a wonderful second career. Especially some who may retire from the military or teaching can offer a wealth of experience and somehwere around 15 to 20 years of service. Possibly with the advantage of a partial or full pension making them great candidates for the growing number of part time positions that are out there.

Scott Lybrand

It seems to me that the real challenge comes at the end of the piece: “Maybe it’s not our candidates for ordained ministry that are too old. Maybe it’s our system.”


My mother, while going through the discernment process for the diaconate in the Diocese of Alabama in her 60s was asked by a haughty priest, “Why in the world would God call you at your age?”

Jesse Snider

Agree. It’s about accepting the invitation of the Holy Spirit no matter where you are chronologically. The process should be exploring with the candidate for signs of that invitation not an arbitrary number set by someone.

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