A church was on the search for a new pastor. They had a certain panache in the community, as well as, an excellent reputation within their own denomination. They came together in business session in order to accept names from the members of potential new pastors. Various people were suggested which included a couple of relatives of influential members along with several names of ministers possessing celebrity. Upon completion of their meeting, the church had formed an impressive dozen pastoral candidates they would like to interview.
In accordance with denominational policy, the personnel committee met and accepted the names from the church and added a few of their own to the list. Calls were made. Pastor after pastor refused to interview for the position.
“Did you attempt to contact Pastor D.?”
To which they received the reply, “Yes, we did, and he’s not interested in leaving his present church.”
They quickly asked about their second choice. They were informed that particular pastor just wasn’t interested. The same opinion was held by the other seven pastors who had been contacted. Time was dragging on and on. Still, no one could be found to take the senior pastor’s position in the influential church.
Being on the personnel committee, I had a stage side seat to the drama that unfolded. Some of the names the church had given were of ministers with three and four times the size churches of the one in need. Two of the pastors they had suggested to fill the pulpit of their church had nation-wide television ministries. In other words, the church had an inflated view of itself.
Their attitude was one of, “Just line up the pastors available and we’ll choose one to our liking.” It didn’t happen. For months they went without a pastor willing to come. During that time the church entered a phase of introspection that included eating some humble pie. It was perplexing to them, at first. Pastors just weren’t lined up to beg for the privilege to serve them.
Churches, like individuals, sometimes get the “big head.” Often, a little humbling is a good thing. Excellent pastors don’t grow on evangelical trees. They are not oblivious to challenging circumstances. Word had gotten out about the church in question. Their haughty attitudes, their lack of appreciation for pastors, and their uncooperative nature had become common knowledge within the denomination. This reputation was a stumbling block in the search for another pastor.
Eventually, a new minister was found who accepted the call to fulfill the need. However, when the pastor arrived, he was viewed as much more of a blessing than he would have been had the search not been delayed. Churches need to know that pastors are not usually struggling to get to the front of the line to serve them. When a dedicated, called individual comes to be a church’s minister, that person should be given great support.
Sometimes there are mind games played upon pastors. They get the impression, right or wrong, that they just aren’t capable of doing anything else. They are so specialized that options are few and opportunities are rare for leaving the ministry. Members need to realize that ministers are often well educated, experienced leaders, and savvy in the field of inspiring other people. In short, they don’t have to stay and be abused. They stay because they are dedicated. They stay because they are called by God to stay.
Ministers are people of courage. They are sometimes held to ridiculously high standards and attempt to live up to them. But in the end, pastors are people, sinful wonderful people whom God Himself has placed among us. They remind us of a Heavenly Dad who loves us. Please be kind to that called, special, incredible individual. Be thankful that someone is willing to stand before you to tell you all about a man called Jesus.