Candidating for the methodist church
Lord knows, these people are giving their valuable time to the Church, serving in one of the most daunting roles.
They are keeping secrets and shielding confidences.
I was on the phone with a pastoral search committee a couple weeks ago—no, I was not being interviewed for a job (cause dang, that would be awkward). I’ve done that quite a bit lately, and I usually feel like the person on the other end of the phone is going through a bullet list of things that 1) a denominational entity has given them or 2) they pulled from the employment handbook of the YMCA. Another congregation asked me the same ‘duties’ and ‘tasks’ kind of questions about an entirely different candidate.
And then I said, ‘this young man is one of the most visionary leaders in the Church right now.’ But, you know, that wasn’t on the list.
They are trying to give vague but hopeful reports to the congregation, and they are being cornered after coffee hour by every member of every other committee, all of whom are SURE they know exactly what this church needs in a new pastor…
” I realize it is mostly the women who get asked this, but churches have been known to ask the young men, as well. ) –or anything else that requires a yes/no sort of answer…Of the single pastor, ““Are you planning to get married? The preacher’s wife still lives under a ridiculous set of expectations that, thankfully, have not quite caught up with the growing sea of preacher’s husbands. – that hope should live as a quiet hope, and not a spoken expectation. I was pretty open about it, but it was, like, 10 years ago. The interview process is a two-way discernment street. Could we see that folder back a minute and show you our ‘plan B’ salary package? (Note to churches: you get what you pay for.) It is no secret that the Church As We Know It is at a turning point right now.” ‘ A mysterious awkwardness hangs in the air when churches interview a single person… However, I do know women who’ve been asked this question as well… I wasn’t shy about my affirmingness, figuring that if a church was scared off by it, I didn’t want to go there anyway. now I think if a church asked me that, I’d say, “There is no gay ‘issue;’ only people who have not yet evolved, still calling it an issue.’ And I would be done with that business, and they’d either love me or run screaming.6. Everywhere you go, there are stories of decline; buildings sold and doors closed forever.Like folks feel the need to somehow acknowledge and comment upon the fact that said-pastor is single. And while it is certainly understandable for a church to be about said-spouse bringing added gifts to the church—musician? But there are also stories of life and hope; of inspired congregations letting go of their ‘stuff,’ shaking out the dust, and learning to serve more broadly, love more deeply, and turn a creative eye to their means of living out the gospel. Here are a few: Let us tell you some of our church’s story…Perhaps an indicator that church wants to set said-pastor up with single niece/nephew/neighbor? Churches that are truly seeking a leader to help them live into that hope… [Church should be able to articulate *something about its past; *something about the neighbors; *something about the gifts of the congregation; and *a challenge they’re currently facing].