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.