Let me begin by saying, I am not judging or condemning churches for their hiring practices! I am just wanting them to stop and think about their process and priorities.
Recently, I ran across this. It’s an ad for a church looking for a preacher. It’s not different than many other churches across the country.
They set the requirements they desire in a man they want to serve as their preacher. I understand that what I am going to discuss here could be somewhat controversial. But, I find these requirements and demands quite influenced by the business culture in this country. One which says the more education one has, the better they are to fill our pulpit.
I attended a church in Pennsylvania some time back as the elders laid out the results of a church questionnaire. I could tell that these three men were all upper management of businesses. They had graphs and charts galore. My estimation was confirmed in talking with the temporary preacher. The church ran as a business.
Last I checked, churches are not businesses. They are living bodies. They don’t operate, as much as some may wish, like businesses, corporations, or governmental entities. The way that a capitalist America runs, which is fine by me, is not a model for the way in which a church operates. It should be operated as God has instructed.
How many good ministers are out there, but have never been to a formal educational facility? How many are out there that have been to a preacher school and have failed to actually connect with people? Education is great, but there are many ways to obtain it. Too many churches are overlooking and missing good people because they have the wrong requirements in who they must select. Jesus himself would be written off the list of potentials because he was a carpenter.
I have been a part of a church that has gone without a preacher for a year and a half. Frankly, I thought it was divine. It forced others to grow. It forced others to lead. It forced others to work. It made people scared, uncomfortable and worried. I love it! In fact, I am an advocate of it. I know that won’t be a popular opinion either to my cherished preacher friends, but I don’t like to live in the status quo. What would our churches be like if we didn’t have preachers, but all of us participated as ministers?
Please don’t fail to miss the gold for the rocks and dirt. Please don’t miss a great servant because he doesn’t have formal education requirements. Knowledge is great, but, it isn’t everything. Just ask Jesus, He had the best education money couldn’t buy.