A recipe for unemployment

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by MojoTurbo, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo
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    Brother Lawrence says we should be contemplating the Lord while we do the dishes, but to be honest… I was contemplating myself recently. A couple of things were culminating in my head as I emptied the dishwasher and I just had to put them down on paper to process things.

    The first is, Rob Bell was interviewed by USA Today recently and in the article that was posted there was a quote from Richard Mouw my Seminary president. Mouw said Love Wins is "a great book, well within the bounds of orthodox Christianity and passionate about Jesus. The real fight, says Mouw, a friend of Bell, a Fuller graduate, is between “generous orthodoxy and stingy orthodoxy. There are stingy people who just want to consign many others to hell and only a few to heaven and take delight in the idea. But Rob Bell allows for a lot of mystery in how Jesus reaches people.”

    Sounds good, right? Well, here is the “sting” – a lot of conservative Christians would disagree. In fact a lot of conservative Christians are disagreeing. So why does the president of a Christian seminary take side with Rob? Is it because Rob is a student and friend? Maybe…

    …Or is it because Richard Mouw isn’t really credible as he is the president of a so-called “liberal” seminary? A simple google search will reveal several conversations (and a few warnings) about the state of Fuller and it’s views on biblical authorship and inerrancy. I would argue that most would not see Mouw as being an "outside voice" - they would simply lump him into the same box as Bell and seal it up.

    So what does this have to do with me?

    Glad you asked. Here is where my train of thought began racing today…

    So far I have been rejected/denied by at least 153 churches; and I would say that the majority of those churches were outside California. Most don’t give any reasons, and most of the time I right it off to inexperience. But something happened recently that caused me to wonder…

    The most recent church to consider me is out in Texas and during an interview… two times… I was asked about my “liberal seminary.” Plus, during the interview it was also mentioned that a few months ago I wasn’t even being considered strictly because I was from California.

    So I start adding things up…

    When you’re a little church out in the bible belt, or you consider yourself a “conservative” church… what do you do with a resume from a punk kid out in California who says he went to a liberal seminary? Because I would contend that some smaller churches would be willing to “give a break” to a young pastor wet behind the ears.. but when youth is connected to “liberal”… is that a recipe for unemployment?

    Is my only hope a church in Los Angeles or San Fransisco?

    Funny thing, I don’t consider myself a liberal. In fact, I don’t consider my Fuller education very liberal either and I am sure some of my professors would probably take offence at the title.

    With every application I sent out, I included a statement of faith. I wonder how many search teams (of well meaning, hard working people) never even read it.
     
  2. tank1976

    tank1976
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    I feel for you with being rejected. I have had several SBC churches in my area that have went through several pastors in the last 9 years, but rejected me as a pastor.

    I realize you don't want to go where you are not lead and God doesn't want you... thing is if you have never been in a position such as yours or mine you really don't understand.

    I had a D.O.M.'s wife tell me I shouldn't go to Liberty University. It may cause me problems in getting a job or a church. I would not exchange my education and growth I have received from my time at Liberty University. I have my thoughts of why she had that opinion, but it did matter to me.

    God has opened many ministering and preaching doors since I finished my degree. One of the doors was non- traditional. The other door has been the chance to preach at several churches in the last 10 months. It has sharpened my skill and helped me to grow in my walk.

    Keep looking for those chances to preach the Word. Be faithful to the Lord and He will take care of you. It has taken me a while to get to that point... some days I still struggle with that fact.
     
  3. matt wade

    matt wade
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    You may not consider yourself liberal, but most conservative Christians would. You are married to an woman who has been "ordained" and is a "pastor".
     
  4. Major B

    Major B
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    unemployment

    What is your denomination?

    Around here, Fuller is considered a secular school by many.
     
  5. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Too many churches are too proud of themselves and think they are the best thing God invented.
     
  6. tank1976

    tank1976
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    Yes-and they may be one of the worse things to happen to Christianity.
     
  7. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Those kind do not need a godly pastor. They need someone to help them die.
     
  8. Crucified in Christ

    Crucified in Christ
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    You bring up a number of things here...I will attempt to deal with a few of them. First, I think that it is a bit disingenuous to ignore that Fuller certainly is less conservative today than it once was. I do not believe Fuller is running from that claim as much as you imply. Now, having stated this, I am also not claiming that it is one of the great bastions of liberal theology...I don't believe that it is yet in that category. Still, its direction is moving in a way that had made conservative churches wary for a number of years. I dare say you knew that when you registered to attend there; it is not exactly breaking news.

    Likewise, Dr. Mouw has a long track record. He has never been considered theologically conservative. In fact, he has been consistently labeled as a member of the evangelical left. Again, I have not read of him rejecting this label. As you offer in you OP, he is finding himself on differing sides from conservative evangelicals...from my reading, this is not an usual position for him. Again, why would we act surprised?

    As to Dr. Mouw's endorsement of Bell's book, it would certainly seem that there is not a long list of well-known evangelicals lining up to follow him. In other words, Mouw's endorsement of the book is simply further evidence of his (and I believe the Seminary's) movement away from conservative evangelicalism. Many will be pleased with this. Yet, I think if anything, even mainstream evangelicals might find it difficult to believe that Mouw endorsed this book. We will have to wait and see how it all pans out.

    Lastly, you ask if Dr. Mouw's quote sounds good. Absolutely not. I am troubled that he would claim that anyone takes pleasure in people going to hell. I have never known anyone who did. He makes a mistake in not separating that we preach hell as a reality for which many people are headed with a love for this fact. It doesn't bother me, however, because I do not follow Dr. Mouw. I follow one who warned that there is a narrow path to salvation which few will find and a wide path to destruction that, sadly, will be traveled by the many. If Bell doesn't like this message, his argument is with the One who first preached it.
     
  9. mandym

    mandym
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    At first I thought you were speaking of people. Now I see you were speaking of churches.
     
  10. Crucified in Christ

    Crucified in Christ
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    As to the second half of the equation, I feel for you. Finding your first pastorate can be really difficult. At the same time, we all make choices which we know will have real-world repercussions. If you go to Liberty and your desire is to pastor a reformed congregation, you will have a lot more explaining to do than if you went to say Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You chose to go to Fuller; certainly this will make employment more difficult with certain congregations. I am sure that you knew that going in. It doesn't mean that you can't get hired, but it does mean you will have to be able to answer why you chose to attend Fuller.

    As a person whose been on both sides of search committees- member, adviser and candidate- I can tell you that it is a mixed bag. Some really are informed and do their homework...others do not really have a clue as to what they are looking for. Inexperience hurts, but people who are wet behind the ears are hired daily. If I had been turned down that many times, I would really give my resume a once-over. Perhaps there is something in it (besides Fuller) that is scaring people off.

    Finally, and this is important, you have to be absolutely honest with committees. You may truly be more liberal than the churches that you are applying to. They may sense this in your resume or in conversations with you. The important thing to remember is you never want to misrepresent where you stand. Too many people have said what needed to be said in order to get a pastorate; this generally ends with the pastor leaving after much stress and a church greatly injured. This is equally true of conservatives in liberal churches as it is of liberals in conservative churches. As Christians, we should honestly say where we stand and leave the rest to the Lord. From the fact that you have had so many unsuccessful applications, it would seem that you are not willing to simply try to get a post. For this, I salute your integrity. Hang in there with much prayer.
     
  11. MojoTurbo

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    Answering questions....

    Mouw's own statement: http://www.netbloghost.com/mouw/?p=188

    My denomination: baptist (hence my membership here)

    My wife is a "pastor"

     
  12. Crabtownboy

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    Have you considered looking at English speaking Baptist churches in the UK or Europe? It is not as far fetched as you might think.
     
  13. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo
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    Sure! How can I pastor a little church in Ireland? I did a google search once and found nothing....
     
  14. abcgrad94

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    Being raised in the "Bible Belt" I can say, yes, it is. The fact that your wife is an ordained pastor will get your resume chucked into file 13 real fast in the Bible Belt, because most of us still believe women are not to teach or usurp authority over the men in the church. The exception would be the American Baptist Churches, or Methodist churches.

    Also take into consideration the culture of the Bible Belt. It is far different than that of California. Outsiders are not easily embraced. They are expected to assimilate and become "one of us" before people will really listen to you. It takes time, years in fact, to prove yourself worthy to earn trust. Not saying this is good or bad, it's just how it is.

    If it's God's will for you to pastor a church, it will happen in His time. You won't need to worry about it or force it to happen.
     
  15. mandym

    mandym
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    And that should be the focus not whether one is liberal or being rejected because of it. If God has called one to pastor then it will happen and no one on earth can stop it. If you get ahead of God you will get yourself in trouble.
     

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