Monday, October 1, 2007
Pastoral Search Report
We do not have a happy report to give. We’ve not been able to find a suitable candidate for this church, though we have one promising prospect still. We do appreciate all the suggestions from the church members, and we’ve followed up each one with interviews or calling at least three references. The following is our confidential report on the present candidates.
Adam: Good man but problems with his wife. Also one reference told of how his wife and he enjoy walking nude in the woods.
Noah: Former pastorate of 120 years with no converts. Prone to unrealistic building projects.
Abraham: Though the references reported wife-swapping, the facts seem to show he never slept with another man’s wife, but did offer to share his own wife with another man.
Joseph: A big thinker, but a braggart, believes in dream-interpreting, and has a prison record.
Moses: A modest and meek man, but poor communicator, even stuttering at times. Sometimes blows his stack and acts rashly. Some say he left an earlier church over a murder charge.
David: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the affair he had with his neighbor’s wife.
Solomon: Great preacher but our parsonage would never hold all those wives.
Elijah: Prone to depression-collapses under pressure.
Elisha: Reported to have lived with a single widow while at his former church.
Hosea: A tender and loving pastor but our people could never handle his wife’s occupation.
Jeremiah: Emotionally unstable, alarmist, negative, always lamenting things, and reported to have taken a long trip to bury his underwear on the bank of foreign river.
Isaiah: On the fringe? Claims to have seen angels in church. Has trouble with his language.
Jonah: Refused God’s call into ministry until he was forced to obey by getting swallowed up by a great fish. He told us the fish later spit him out on the shore near here. We hung up.
Amos: Too backward and unpolished. With some seminary training he might have promise, but has a hang-up against wealthy people. Might fit in better in a poor congregation.
John: Says he is a Baptist, but definitely doesn’t dress like one. Has slept in the outdoors for months on end, has a weird diet, and provokes denominational leaders.
Peter: Too blue collar. Has a bad temper—even has been known to curse. Had a big run-in with Paul in Antioch. Aggressive, but a loose cannon.
Paul: Powerful CEO type leader and fascinating preacher. However, short on tact, unforgiving with younger ministers, harsh and has been known to preach all night.
Timothy: Too young.
Jesus: Has had popular times, but once when his church grew to 5000 he managed to offend them all and this church dwindled down to twelve people. Seldom stays in one place very long. And, of course, he’s single.
Judas: His references are solid. A steady plodder. Conservative. Good connections. Knows how to handle money. We’re inviting him to preach this Sunday. Possibilities here.
If you have ever been part of a Pastor search committee you can chuckle at this while at the same time see the truth of this! All the reasons not to hire these men have most likely been heard during your own search for a Pastor. Is he single? Is he too young? Does he offend people? Does he have tact? How's his temper? Is he a sharp dresser? Does he like to visit? Is he friendly and socialable. What about his wife? On and on and on we go. The danger of course is that we get so involved in the negative things of his past or that he can't measure up to our expectations of a Pastor that we neglect to see the positive possible impact of his ministry.
I believe that if we're too particular, we can end up like the church in the example above. "Hey, this guy Judas sure looks good, let's give him a shot." You see all the other men were men of God, and they struggled with sin in their life just like you and I. But for some reason we expect the Pastor to be perfect! We expect the pastor we choose to meet all of our expectations and be this perfect person that does everything we need as our leader. He's not allowed to have issues! After all he's a man of God! He's been called by God to be the Pastor! And by the way, he's being paid.
How quickly we forget that we also have been called by God to serve, evangilize, witness, and preach the good news to those we meet that are lost. Why do we assume or think it's the Pastor's role to visit the sick? Why do we think it's the Pastor's duties to run the office of the Church? Why do we think he has to be the one to outreach to the community so they can be saved? Why do we think this and how did we get this way? I'm convienced of this... We want someone else to do our work that God intends for us to do. Is that why we hire a Pastor to lead our congregation? No, of course not. But sometimes it seems that way doesn't it? If it wasn't for the Pastor or associate Pastor and a hand full of key leaders, teachers, etc. where would we be? The rest of the people come to be a part of their own social club. In some ways we begin to think, this church is our church. It's our responsiblity to complain when things in our church are not right. Now wait a minute, we tried that 10 years ago and it didn't work out so well, it just won't work. Now wait a minute Pastor, did you run that by the committee for approval first before you go too far with this? Well Pastor we have no one do run this ministry... can't your wife do it? Pastor, Pastor, PASTOR, can't you do more, can't you do better?
Folks... the man is human. He's just like you and I. No different! He's not more Godly than you and I should be. Usually he is though because we fail to read our bibles and study like we should, so we think that because he's the Pastor... well it his job to be more Godly. No it isn't, It's his job to equip the Saints (the members of the church) for ministry. It's not his job to do all the ministry, it's his job to equip us to do the ministry. Like visiting, like fellowship, like teaching, like evangilizing, like reaching out to the lost.
Ephesians 4: (11)"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, and some pastors and teachers, (12)for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
Some of the first preachers were the 11 disciples.
Matthew 28: (18) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (19) "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
To be made into disciples. Men and women that have learned and been taught to observe all the things that are commanded us by our Lord Jesus Christ. This teaching of course comes from our Pastor and God's Word (the bible). He's our equipper. Our role however is to discover the gifts that God has given us and apply those gifts in areas of ministry within our body of believers (the church). For Christ's church to be all that He wants it to be, we must look at ourselves as the body of believers. Where have we dropped the ball? Why would we blame anyone other than ourselves for the condition of the church?
I hope that as you read this you look at your own church. You'll see these same results most likely. You have a hand full of people doing the work. You may have too many ministries going on and not enough people to do any of them real well. So you're frustrated and wonder why God is not at work in your church? You may be blaming your Pastor for the Spiritual condition of your church, yet, how often have you prayed this week for your Pastor or for the church? How often have you picked up your bible this week and read it with anticpation to see what God wants to reveal to you today? What does he want you to change in your life? Sometimes I think we just need to start over. Sometimes I think we make such a mess of things that maybe God just wants to take it down the foundation and start over and build us back up again as He intended. Have we built on His foundation with gold , silver and precious stones, or wood, hay, and straw?
1 Corinthians 3: (11) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (13) each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
Could it be, that we've built our churches with wood, hay, and straw rather than the gold, silver and Precious stones that will hold up to the test? Sometimes I wonder?