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omni

Average age of bishops

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We recently attended my in-law’s ward in Orem, Utah and I noticed the bishop was in his mid-thirties with four small children.  This isn’t too unusual, however approximately 80% of the ward consisted of retirees with the remaining 20% comprised of newlyweds and a few families.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s all of my bishops were in the 45-55 year old range, however since then they have all been in the 35-45 year old range (except for the student wards I attended).

It seems that when possible, a retired priesthood holder (or at a minimum one with grown children) would make the ideal bishop.  It would allow the bishop to have the time needed to dedicate to the calling, decades of additional church service  experience, while not being a burden for those families with young children.

I realize my experience is anecdotal, however have any of you noticed bishops getting called at a younger age over the last couple of decades?

Is there any scriptural support or have the brethren ever stated why bishops are called at a reletively young age?

 

 

 

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It often depends on the SP. In my area, my last 2 stake presidents have seemed to prefer the mid-thirties bishop. I asked about it once and they suggested that they wanted youth and vigor and they thought younger bishops could better identify with the youth, and vice versa. The vast majority of bishops in my stake have been 30-45.

My Stake President before that took a much different approach. He seemed to prefer a bishop in his 60's. Well-established. Lots of church service experience. Time. etc. It may have been a fluke but we had a number of these "older" bishops get ill and were released early so maybe that played in to the philosophy of my current SP wanting them younger.

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My current Bishop is a mid 30's, wife is the breadwinner so to speak, he works too but doesn't get paid as much as does, yeah 4 kids. The neighboring ward he's early 40's , but the other wards are mostly retired  or older men then these two. We have a Bishop, now that I think about it maybe 30? or late 20's, wasn't terribly active prior to his call but now he has to be there every sunday and everything else! One thing about this stake and I don't know if it happens elsewhere is they call guys to be Bishops multiple times, so it's not uncommon to have a Bishop serving twice or one guy was a Bishop, and twice a Branch President

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I thought that they were calling bishops who had some skills in dealing with youth and were therefore, younger? 

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My last two bishops have been 50 and older. When we visit our children's wards one is in his late 30s and the other is over 50. 

I would hate to think the Lord actually is involved in each bishop's calling to serve - what an outlandish thought. 

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10 minutes ago, omni said:

I realize my experience is anecdotal, however have any of you noticed bishops getting called at a younger age over the last couple of decades?

I think any response you get here would be, as you say, anecdotal.  Not sure how any of us have a wide enough perspective to tell. 

I don't think I really knew how my bishops were growing up.  They all seemed like "old guys," but I don't recall any of them having gray hair.

The ward I have lived in for the past 20 years has had a bishop in his 50's, 2 in their 40's, and 2 in their 30's. 

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It's been all over the map for my Bishops in the last 25 years.  The most memorable was a friend who was in his late 30's who was called to preside over a ward that had a lot of older members that had massive amounts of Church experience (former Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents etc.)  It was a little daunting for him. Obviously, those members were incredibly supportive (and, I suspect, relieved).

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1 hour ago, omni said:

We recently attended my in-law’s ward in Orem, Utah and I noticed the bishop was in his mid-thirties with four small children.  This isn’t too unusual, however approximately 80% of the ward consisted of retirees with the remaining 20% comprised of newlyweds and a few families.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s all of my bishops were in the 45-55 year old range, however since then they have all been in the 35-45 year old range (except for the student wards I attended).

It seems that when possible, a retired priesthood holder (or at a minimum one with grown children) would make the ideal bishop.  It would allow the bishop to have the time needed to dedicate to the calling, decades of additional church service  experience, while not being a burden for those families with young children.

I realize my experience is anecdotal, however have any of you noticed bishops getting called at a younger age over the last couple of decades?

Is there any scriptural support or have the brethren ever stated why bishops are called at a reletively young age?

My current Bishop was just called a few months ago.  He is 34 years old.  This is the first time I have ever been older than my bishop.  Makes me feel old! 

I can see good arguments for young bishops and older bishops.  One good reason to call younger bishops - if we want general authorities with a good history of leadership experience, we have to call them young.  If you think our leadership is old now, just imagine if we didn't start calling bishops until their mid-40's!  There would be an incredibly high turn over in the upper leadership.  Our prophets have all been serving in leadership positions form most of their life.  If I remember right, Monson was called as a bishop in his young twenties, and was called as an apostle in his mid 30's!  Even at that he barely lived long enough to serve as President at full capacity.

So, I agree, on a local level mid 40's-50's is probably the ideal age for a bishop for the reasons you mentioned, but on the church-wide level, we need to prepare our future leaders starting at a young age.  

Edited by pogi

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1 hour ago, omni said:

We recently attended my in-law’s ward in Orem, Utah and I noticed the bishop was in his mid-thirties with four small children.  This isn’t too unusual, however approximately 80% of the ward consisted of retirees with the remaining 20% comprised of newlyweds and a few families.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s all of my bishops were in the 45-55 year old range, however since then they have all been in the 35-45 year old range (except for the student wards I attended).

It seems that when possible, a retired priesthood holder (or at a minimum one with grown children) would make the ideal bishop.  It would allow the bishop to have the time needed to dedicate to the calling, decades of additional church service  experience, while not being a burden for those families with young children.

I realize my experience is anecdotal, however have any of you noticed bishops getting called at a younger age over the last couple of decades?

Is there any scriptural support or have the brethren ever stated why bishops are called at a reletively young age?

In my stake in Provo there is a fairly broad spectrum of ages.  We did have one who was quite young (27 or so, IIRC), but that ward had an extremely high turnover rate (something like 90% per year), so that was a special case.  The rest fall fairly evenly across the 35-55-year-old spectrum.

Thanks,

-Smac

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30 minutes ago, pogi said:

My current Bishop was just called a few months ago.  He is 34 years old.  This is the first time I have ever been older than my bishop.  Makes me feel old! 

I can see good arguments for young bishops and older bishops.  One good reason to call younger bishops - if we want general authorities with a good history of leadership experience, we have to call them young.  If you think our leadership is old now, just imagine if we didn't start calling bishops until their mid-40's!  There would be an incredibly high turn over in the upper leadership.  Our prophets have all been serving in leadership positions form most of their life.  If I remember right, Monson was called as a bishop in his young twenties, and was called as an apostle in his mid 30's!  Even at that he barely lived long enough to serve as President at full capacity.

So, I agree, on a local level mid 40's-50's is probably the ideal age for a bishop for the reasons you mentioned, but on the church-wide level, we need to prepare our future leaders starting at a young age.  

I thought of this as well, but the idea that apostles and prophets need decades of church leadership experience seems to be a modern notion.  

I realize we live in a different world, however throughout the scriptures and even the modern church we see examples of apostles and prophets who were called without decades of leadership experience.

I have a good friend who was called as a bishop a couple of years ago in a well established Utah ward.  This friend is very devout and would do anything for the church, however he recently confided in me that when called, he was so upset he initially tried to turn it down, but ultimately accepted after some convincing from the SP.  

Both him and his wife were experiencing significant health issues, dealing with the recent and unexpected death of a parent, a struggling business they owned, and raising four small children.  After recounting a number of horror stories, I expected him to say that after a rough beginning he now loves his calling and couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but instead while things have improved, he still feels like he’s treading water and wonders if he’ll make it.

I’m left wondering, is it worth the toll taken on these men and their families when there are often so many other older men that could truly dedicate their time and experience to the calling?

 

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3 hours ago, omni said:

...........................

Is there any scriptural support or have the brethren ever stated why bishops are called at a reletively young age?

No.  Any married adult male can be called as a bishop.  My current bishop has young children, and that doesn't seem to interfere with his performance.  A good bishop needs to know how to delegate.

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22 minutes ago, omni said:

I thought of this as well, but the idea that apostles and prophets need decades of church leadership experience seems to be a modern notion.  

I realize we live in a different world, however throughout the scriptures and even the modern church we see examples of apostles and prophets who were called without decades of leadership experience.

I have a good friend who was called as a bishop a couple of years ago in a well established Utah ward.  This friend is very devout and would do anything for the church, however he recently confided in me that when called, he was so upset he initially tried to turn it down, but ultimately accepted after some convincing from the SP.  

Both him and his wife were experiencing significant health issues, dealing with the recent and unexpected death of a parent, a struggling business they owned, and raising four small children.  After recounting a number of horror stories, I expected him to say that after a rough beginning he now loves his calling and couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but instead while things have improved, he still feels like he’s treading water and wonders if he’ll make it.

I’m left wondering, is it worth the toll taken on these men and their families when there are often so many other older men that could truly dedicate their time and experience to the calling?

My dad was called as a bishop at 30.  He had 5 small kids and a 6th on the way.  He was a new business owner trying to start a residential treatment center for troubled youth from the ground up. This was back in the day when bishops served for 10 years.  I rarely saw my dad in those formative years. My mom resents that he was called and served as a bishop to this day.  She basically raised 6 kids on her own, so I certainly understand where you are coming from.  

Having said that, I think the church has learned just how important a long vetting process is when calling general authorities and MTC presidents ;)  

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4 hours ago, omni said:

We recently attended my in-law’s ward in Orem, Utah and I noticed the bishop was in his mid-thirties with four small children.  This isn’t too unusual, however approximately 80% of the ward consisted of retirees with the remaining 20% comprised of newlyweds and a few families.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s all of my bishops were in the 45-55 year old range, however since then they have all been in the 35-45 year old range (except for the student wards I attended).

It seems that when possible, a retired priesthood holder (or at a minimum one with grown children) would make the ideal bishop.  It would allow the bishop to have the time needed to dedicate to the calling, decades of additional church service  experience, while not being a burden for those families with young children.

I realize my experience is anecdotal, however have any of you noticed bishops getting called at a younger age over the last couple of decades?

Is there any scriptural support or have the brethren ever stated why bishops are called at a reletively young age?

 

 

In my experience being re-TIRED is mostly about being TIRED.  ;)

It can become "enduring to the end"

If you have a job to do, give it to a busy person.  

As far as qualifications, if you are married and have teenagers, and are managing that successfully, that is about the best experience there is for being a bishop.

You don't need much "beyond" that other than the ability to delegate and be directly plugged into the Spirit and have the stamina to work two 40 hour jobs at once.  ;)

It's more stamina than anything!  

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In my youth we had bishops who served over 20 years. Now THAT was a calling! Mind you, the ward membership hardly changed at all , either.

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20 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

In my youth we had bishops who served over 20 years. Now THAT was a calling! Mind you, the ward membership hardly changed at all , either.

Lack of change was the key. Once your know everyone's problems you can put it on cruise control. 

You just have to watch out for changes in their situation. ;)

 

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My father was  called when he was in his 60s.  Both Uncles have been bishops when they were in their 50s.  My last two bishops have been in the 55 - 60 range.   The youngest bishop I had was 35.  

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