I’m beginning to really appreciate Don Owsley’s blog, The Imperfect Pastor, because it is helpful and has been good to see that I’m not the only one that struggles with the church’s unrealistic quest to find the “perfect” pastor. Having been involved with search committees for a number of years, as the one looking for a call, is that churches often make mistakes at being too idealistic. What most committees start to do is look for what they want. You can tell right off the bat that they are not looking for God’s man, but their own man because the qualifications they want in a pastor are unrealistic. If they get a man that meets all their qualifications, then the man probably lied to them. In the end, they will be extremely disappointed because no such candidates truly exist.
If such a man does exist in what they are looking for, he probably already has a call. After all, I haven’t heard that men like John Piper, Alistair Begg or R.C. Sproul are in the market for new churches. If they are, they usually just go start a new church and by-pass messing with search committees and churches filled with years of unhealthy baggage. I only say that because judging by what they are looking for in a man, it shows that they are not looking for God’s man for the job, but their next CEO/Public Relations Guru/Rock star preacher.
Another observation that I have made over the years is that so often what these churches are looking for is a modern-day version of Jesus Christ. Then when they realize that the man they have hired isn’t what they had hoped, they are quick to give him a modern-day crucifixion. This brings me to Don Owsley’s post entitled Superpreacher — We Want YOU! If you read it, you will realize that the pastor the church has is God’s man for it, even though what the church is looking for is not their pastor. See if you can spot it.
I am writing to you to ask you to consider becoming our pastor. We are a small church in a small city that was established over forty years ago. I am one of several who either started this church or grew up in this church. We’ve always been small; but I know that if you came here we would grow into a great and large church.
We’ve had plenty of others preachers over the years. I think ten? But none of them was really any good at preaching. The longest we’ve ever had a pastor was six years, even though we encouraged him to find another church after he had been with us for two years.
Our current pastor came a few years ago. He’s okay, but nothing like you. He’s a likeable man, but he’s not what we want. Yes, he studies hard, visits people when they are sick, oversees the worship, teaches Bible study, prays for members in the church, meets with our men, visits our visitors, counsels, witnesses, is training new deacons, is constantly having lunch or supper with people and other things like that. It’s all well and good, but he’s not bringing new people in or making our church grow. We want more than 120!
We need someone like you. If our pastor had a voice like you do, and could dress as cool as you, or preach on the stage the way you do, then things might not be so bad. He’s also older than 40, which turns off young people. He needs charisma and energy. That’s what you have. He also needs to wow the audience and say things that will get people’s attention, and tell lots of great stories like you. We want someone exhilarating and well-known.
It would be so exciting to have you be our preacher. We would still let you do conferences and write books. By the way, when I can find the time I plan on reading one of your books! You can get rid of the pulpit, but we would like it if you did not change too much else around. Contemporary songs are fine once in a while too. I’m sure those things don’t really matter much to you because all you really need to do is what you do best: preach the socks off people.
Even though we are a small church, we have people who have investments and good resources, which they could put toward paying your large salary for a few years. Our core group has been waiting for just the right person to come along to make wise use of this money; and we know you would be that right man!
Please let me know if you will accept this offer. We are already talking about ways to help this pastor move on. It should not be a problem since we’ve helped previous preachers find other calls.
In the name of Jesus;
Chris N. Dom
Gee… what a loving congregation. I know this is only fiction, but there is so much truth in it, it sickens the heart. You can see the love of Christ just oozing out of this man that is writing. He cares so much for his current pastor that he is willing to help him “move along.” Never mind the well-being of the pastor and his family.
This mentality behind such letters is completely out of line with Scripture. It is not the goal of the church to be large, flashy, extravagant, healthy, wealthy and wise. The goal is to be faithful in their calling and too many churches think they are failing because they never grow larger than the mythical “120” or whatever the number happens to be. To be healthy, the entire church needs to be working for the kingdom, not just a pastor that can preach the socks off the congregation. (Given some congregations, that might be a stinky affair).
The goal is faithfulness. For the pastor, that means preaching Biblically sound sermons, shepherding the flock and given them vision about who they are in Christ and how they should be living as Christians. The list is fairly short on what the priorities of the pastor. He is merely to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, not do everything the congregation doesn’t want to do. The church has plenty of superpreachers. What we need are faithful flocks, which include both faith pastors as well as faithful members. That is far more important than having a guy that can preach the socks off the congregation.
Back to my sermon. I’m hoping to preach the shoe laces off my congregation… pray for me.