In my Intro to Youth Ministry class this morning we spent the session talking about God's call to ministry. We asked questions like "How does one know he/she is called to ministry?" "What role do emotions, giftedness and community play in discerning the call?" and "How does a church call a pastor?"
It's been said that when a church calls a pastor they spend a weekend (or however long the candidating process is) talking about all the things they like in a candidate and then all the following years complaining about everything they don't like. Most churches put pastors on pedestals and have such high standards that Jesus himself wouldn't be qualified (or if he was he probably wouldn't be interested).
Most churches engage in a fierce cycle that goes something like this: pastors love power and control so they continue to do all of the work and make all of the decisions, and congregations require that the pastors serve them and meet their needs thus alleviating themselves of any responsibility for the ministry and work of the kingdom. Thus, the professionalization of the pastoral role reinforces the apathy of the laity and vice-versa.
Congregations continue to search for the perfect pastor. Here's a humorous piece I use in class about a generic church that is doing just that. I pulled this article by Clint Heacock from Relevant Magazine a couple of years ago. It's no longer on their site so I include it here as an doc file. This fictitious church business meeting is way too familiar.
Thank you all for coming to the meeting tonight.
As you all know, we've been two long years without a head pastor, ever since we had to let Pastor Jesus go. You all remember how we voted on that issue. Quite simply it wasn't working out, either for Him or for us.
But now we are certain that God has answered our prayers! After reviewing the resumes of literally dozens of potential pastors, we have found one that we think could be a great fit for our church....
Here's the full story.