This is a short post in response to a comment that reader Diane brought up concerning elevating folks within a church into leadership roles, specifically calling a pastor out from among the church elders.
Some denominations do this better than others. Charismatic churches, in my experience, are far better than most in identifying gifted individuals within a church and working with them to fill leadership roles. I hear that the SBC does a good job with this, too.
But I fear that too many churches are not looking within to find their future leaders, too often relying on search committees to scour the globe for candidates. This is a problem because hard questions must be asked about the effectiveness of discipleship within a church. If the church is having to rely on outsiders for pastoral roles (and other church positions), then I have got to believe that church’s entire Christian education program is deficient.
Church leaders must always be on the lookout for people within the church to succeed them. Why churches spend so little money developing their next generation of leaders is beyond me. I think it is worth it to a church to use offering money to professionally train potential leaders. “Professional training” is certainly not a be all and end all (there are plenty of well-trained leaders with withered spiritual lives), but we fall down in our promises to future generations if we do not listen to the Spirit’s leading in developing the next generation of leaders.
Nothing could be better than bringing on a pastor who has been in a church since childhood. That this is a rarity rather than the rule speaks volumes about our priorities.
5 thoughts on “Identifying the Future”
Xenos Christian Fellowship has been doing church this way for 30 years. It does, as you say, demonstrate what our values are.
I’d like to know more about Xenos. Could you tel us more or point us to a Web site?
or, perhaps closer to you,
http://www.xenos-cincy.org, which recently promoted one of its own elders to a pastor-ish position when the another moved out of town
There is something to be said about “promoting” from within the ranks (sorry about the military reference). I have recently become a deacon in my church with 2 others. We have been going through a class with our pastor and elder(we are still waiting for the other elder)the book we have been using is The Making of a Leader, by Frank Damazio. It is what our leadership has used as a model for church leadership since we started 6 years ago. I have been on a search committee at another church and found that finding the right guy is nearly impossible. The whole idea of setting up an interview and asking for a demo tape seems out of whack with God’s plan. It sounds more like an audition. I have been on the other end also and have found the pressure to perform unbearable. I think that God wants us to reach from within to pick our leaders for many reasons. The most important reason, I believe, is that we know what we are getting as far as what that person’s walk is like, theology, Etc.. This said, I think that most churches need to look at the way they disciple. Unfortunatly most churches look at discipleship as an 8 week course that is offered after a salvation experience. Maybe a litmus test for a church’s effectiveness would be if there are any members that could be pulled for leadership. I for one, am hoping to work my way out of a job, making a way for my children to lead.
I appreciated your comments. My mother was on the pastor seeking committee for her chruch and what I never had heard before is the exoritant cost of finding a pastor. This at least is true in PCUSA Presbyterian land. First they must put together a thorough questionnaire to the members about the purpose of the church and its mission statement. Then they have to correlate this and send it to Presbyterian headquarters. Pastors seeking chruches read the statement of various churches to see if they think they are a match. Then they send their tape to the churches. The members of the pastor seeking committees then must spend hours and gobs of money traveling all over the place to hear these prospective candidates preach. The last item on the almsot two year agenda is to spend money to fly a candidate they like to their church to preach.
Ummmm…isn’t their a simpler, more inexpensive way to do this? Yes, I think there is and I think we all are on to it…LOL.