In your article you said: "For the last 150 years or so, Christians have, in large part, abandoned these fields... "
A troubling trend I detect in Christian education today is how many of our young adults aspire to major only in English (my field!), music, education, or the ministry.
I wholeheartedly agree with what you have written. In my opinion, I believe that many parachurch organizations have contributed to the exodus of believers from the work force to the "ministry." The workplace has been placed in second place next to the full-time ministry. Though preachers don't explicitly say it, it is implicitly communicated through the Christian media.
This has allowed non-believers to fill the vacuum left by believers and we are suffering the consequences. For some reason we believe that a full-time worker will be more effective than a career person.
If we are to have full-time ministers, they should be older men and women who have gone through the trials of life in the family and workplace. They should be people who have raised obedient children in the Lord, have good, long consistent marriages, and have established themselves successfully in a career. They should be people who have gone through the trials of life and allowed the Lord to mold them. These people generally are more available to work full-time in the "ministry" because they will have retired and/or have an empty nest.
I really cringe when I see a young person raising support for full-time ministry. I believe they need to stop begging for money, get a job, and get involved in their local church. I was once there and I am embarassed to think that I tried to do that so that I could be a full-time minister. We need less people in the ministry and more people in the field ministering.
I could talk for hours on the subject. I hope you can understand what I am trying to say. Feel free to reply. Thanks for the article!