Church Seeks Pastor

That was the title of a mailer I received a few weeks ago.  Unsolicited, I might add.

It’s a slick, good looking 4″x6″ mailer card. Sturdy.  Full of pictures of smiling people of all ages and nationalities in a variety of presumably service settings.  The sort of thing I imagine is quite effective in some denominational or non-denominational circles, but hardly in mine.  At least, as far as I know.

It shouldn’t be surprising, I suppose.  In a day and age where many American churches have adopted all sorts of ideas, assumptions, practices, and language from corporate America, why not solicit for a new theological CEO the same way?

In our polity, congregations in need of a new pastor coordinate with regional officers of our denomination who provide a list of vetted names to the congregation for their explorations.  The congregation can get names from other venues, but that’s frowned upon by our officers.  While we affirm the Holy Spirit’s guidance and involvement in all of this, we effectively spend a lot more time on politics and other human endeavors than we do in prayer.  If the Holy Spirit would just send us memos or something, it would be a lot simpler.

Though I’d argue a lot less comfortable, as well!

This methodology of advertising for a pastor is questionable at best, in my opinion.  Anyone can curate a few photos and come up with a perky-sounding description of the congregation.  And for a pastor in a difficult parish or situation, how tempting would it be to say What the heck?  Why not just send them a note and see what the Holy Spirit does?  And while I won’t ever claim the Holy Spirit couldn’t work in a situation or through a means like this, it amps up the human aspect more than I’m comfortable with.    I’ll trust they’re working this through the more established or traditional avenues as well, but this was a new approach to me.

No, I won’t be responding!

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