Surely no pastor has ever made these mistakes with a search committee. Right?
Man will then be spoken of as having this sort of free decision, not because he has free choice equally of good and evil, but because he acts wickedly by will, not by compulsion.
Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
Read this over your morning cup. Just be sure not to spit on your screen.
This weekend, I will preach in view of a call at a local church. That means that after I preach, this church will vote on whether or not to offer me the position of Senior Pastor. (Ed Stetzer has a great post explaining the process here.)
So I preach. Then they vote.
It’s not that everything is riding on the quality of my sermon (after all, I’m a fervent believer in the sovereignty of God and that He will place me in the church where He wills), but it would be silly to say that it’s unimportant.
First, let me admit that I’ve only done this once before. And even though I used a different text then, the main idea is the same.
I think you need to lay your theological cards on the table when you preach in view of a call.
I think you have the responsibility of making it crystal clear what you’re about, and what you believe the church will be about should they extend that call to you.
That means that you can’t take shortcuts and just preach your favorite, most recent sermon. Instead, you need to be diligent enough to search your Bible, search your heart, and search God’s will for the church.
Anything less creates confusion and develops a lack of trust down the road.
The goal at this point is not to slide under their radar, but to confirm whether or not God is calling you to serve this church. Part of that process is determining a common theological framework.
Don’t pretend to be strong on a point that you’re apathetic about. And don’t pretend to be flexible on a point that you have strong convictions about.
No one should have to “smoke out” what you really believe.
Be so clear in your convictions that they have something to vote on other than your nice smile, funny story, and cute children.
I think to do anything less is to do the church, your family, and, most importantly, your Savior a disservice.
image via flickr:racketeers
Recently, a good friend of mine let a beloved staff person go due to a moral failure. And while he and I had discussed the exact scenario before (when both of us were relatively disconnected from the issue), when it actually happened in his ministry, it was much harder.
And, common in most cases, both sides take issue with his response. He removed this person from ministry, getting them Biblical counseling to deal with his addiction, and seeking his restoration to the church body.
The question for pastors is this, “Where do we differentiate between those to whom we show grace, and those that we draw a hard line and remove from ministry?”
Take the jump to read my thoughts.
A few months ago, I asked for help selecting the right Bible for my time in seminary. It took me some time to make my decision (and I wanted to spend some time with her before blogging about it), but I’m thrilled with my choice.
Most of the comments on my post asking for your help warned me that the font-size was noticeably small, and that worried me. So when I saw another student carrying around the natural leather cover version, I had to ask him. He admitted that it was a smaller font than most Bibles, but that he had no problems reading it whatsoever.
So when I saw this one in the bookstore on sale (and with an additional 20% for students), I had to jump on it. After all, as an unemployed seminary student, price plays a large role in many decisions.
Plus anyone who knows my fascination with moleskine notebooks knew I would eventually land here.
Even though the font is small.
But it’s only obvious when compared with others. When I’m reading, studying, and making notes, I hardly notice it.
This little Bible doesn’t take up the room in my backpack that my ESV Study Bible does. It has a hardcover, so I can trust that it will hold up better than a duo-tone, or leather-bound Bible would. It’s easy to pull out of my backpack, grab my highlighter, and get to the text I’m looking at.
And it’s got plenty of space for me to gather write down what God is teaching me during this season.
And that’s all that I was looking for in my seminary Bible.
What Bible are you currently using?
UPDATE 8/29/12: Crossway has just released a single-column ESV Journaling Bible that looks awesome. Consider this your opportunity to bless seminary student and send one my way.