Pastor's and Churches CHoosing Each Other

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by mnw, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. mnw

    mnw
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    In another thread running at the moment someone asked advice about going through an interview to become pastor of a church.

    I wanted to ask some questions regarding a pastor finding the will of God in which church to go to.

    Should a pastor only take a church where there are no problems? The posts I read on the other thread seem to imply this.

    Should a pastor knowingly go into a church with scores of problems?

    Is there a danger of pastors simply having careers, and not ministries?

    I guess other questions will come up along the way, but these are just a few I have been considering personally.
     
  2. SBCPreacher

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    MNW,

    I am now pastoring my second church. But even when I was an associate pastor, most of the churches that I ahve served in were either in some sort of problem, or just went through one. It seems that my ministry (and my wife's) is to help the church pick up the pieces after the dust settles.

    It would be nice to go to a church with no problems (if there is such a thing), but not near as nice as knowing for sure that you're in the church that God cosen for you and your unique ministry gifts.

    Now, does a pastor want to go to a church that has scores of problems? I don't think so. But on the other hand, does a pastor want to refuse to go wherever God sends him? He better not!
     
  3. tinytim

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    A church with no problems....!!!!!!!!!!! Now that is funny:laugh:
    That's a church with no people. Even Christ had to put up with Judas!

    I know what you mean though... I would rather be in a church that has problems, and know I am there because God sent me,
    than to be in a church with relatively fewer problems where I sent myself.

    The church I am now pastoring was up front with me concerning problems... I went in with my eyes open, knowing some pitfalls. The church I left (as youth pastor) had almost no problems in 4 yrs. It was, and still is, growing, and going strong. To me it was the ideal church. (BTW, they are still looking for a good youth pastor!! if any of you want to apply)

    If I was looking at the 2 churches with worldly eyes, and were to view being a pastor as a career, I would have been crazy for leaving. But God has called me here, and since he has called me... I am following him. Of Course, I always have liked a challenge.

    I do think there is a danger in seeing you calling as a career vs ministry.
    It is something I have to guard myself from.
     
    #3 tinytim, Aug 2, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2006
  4. Tom Bryant

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    I agree with Tim.

    I posted there about asking alot of questions. But it wasn't to say to not go there. It was so that a person would go to a church knowing what the situation is.

    I especially think it is important for a first time pastor. There are troubled churches and trouble making churches. The former is a church that has experienced problems. The latter is one that causes problems and has a history of eating up, chewing and spitting out pastors. First time pastors can be destroyed by those in the latter category.

    If God calls you to either one of those kinds of churches, you must go. But at least know what you're getting yourself into.
     
  5. SBCPreacher

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    That's the truth! If God called me to one of those churches that runs off preachers every year or so, I believe I'd go, but I couldn't say that I'd look forward to it.

    I do believe that God will hold those few (and I really believe it's only a few in each case) in these churches that do this kind of thing to account. I'd hate to stand before God and answer for that.
     
  6. mnw

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    I hope my questions have not come across as criticisms of the questions and answers in the other thread. That is not my intention.

    The general theme in the answers here seems to be to go where ever the Lord leads. This is the position I take.

    And its the truth SBC, where there's people there will be problems. I've never heard of a perfect church. :)

    Tom, I understand the reasons for asking questions. Really, a pastor could not serve the church properly without knowing its history and key individuals within the church.

    How do you think preachers fall into the mindset of a career rather than a ministry? Do you think congregations are partly to blame? I have heard churches talk about their pastor "outgrowing" them and deserving a larger church. Also, I find some small churches will not call a pastor from a "big" church because they do not think he will consider them.
     
  7. ichthys

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    From what I have learned (all my limited experience is outlined on the other thread sal-oot :wavey: ), what has been said is true. It is important to know about problems, to recognize problems, so you can be ready to deal with them. Problems aren't a reason to refuse a call and more problems in one church than another isn't a reason to pick the one with fewer problems. I think most of the comments about avoiding problems were kind of in jest, too. Everybody wants to avoid problems but if a pastor doesn't recognize there will be problems where people are concerned, he ain't realistic.

    Most important is finding out where God wants you to serve and doing it as best you can. You want to know all you can ahead of time to be able to do that, problems and all. From the perspective of the church or the pastor in question.
     
  8. ichthys

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    From what I have seen and heard, preachers/pastors fall into thinking of ministry as a career when they think they are in charge. The same happens when churches won't call a "big" pastor because they think they will be turned down flat. God can do what He wants to do if we make our pastor self/church available to Him. And if the pastor self or churches don't agree on the same issue, then no hard feelings, that's all right, too, as long as God (not pride) is leading the decision.
     
  9. PastorSBC1303

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    I agree. It is not about asking questions so you do not have to go. It is about knowing everything you can about the situation so if the Lord is leading you there, you can go in and be prepared to minister.
     
  10. jesnipes

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    After 35 years in the ministry there are two things I have learned concerning churches with problems and the call of a pastor.
    1. If they tell you their church does not have any problems - they will lie about other things too! There are at time people who do not realize if and what problems exist in their church, but they do exist. As long as a congregation contains members who are still in the flesh, problems will exist.
    2. If I have the gifts, skills, and education to deal with the problems the church is facing, I see this as a factor confirming God's call to that church.
     
  11. El_Guero

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    Jesnipes

    This is well thought out - and very true in almost any endeavor.

     
  12. Tom Bryant

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    mnw,
    I never thought of them as criticisms.

    I think it's a pendulum situation. We go from asking not enough questions to asking the wrong kind of questions. Dr. John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Florida Baptist Convention, tells of being asked in a pastors meeting, how large does a church have to be before you can have an unlisted phone number. He said, "I pastored a church of over 2,000 and always had my number listed. I know head a state convention with 1,000's of churches and my phone number is listed... so I guess you have to be bigger than that." That's the mmindset we ought to have.

    But then people understand that this is a callng and we go back to not asking the right questions and preachers get hurt.

    That is just right on target. The Lord uses the right man for the right church at the right time... that is if we don't get in the way.
     
  13. Joseph M. Smith

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    I am reminded of an acquaintance who had messed up rather badly as Minister of Education in a church I knew rather well. In telling me that he had accepted a call elsewhere, he said, "I am going to a church that has NO problems." I nearly had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "If you are going there, they are about to have at least one problem!"

    Well, of course he found that the place had a lot more problems going than even he could bring to the table, and it was not long before the relationship ended unhappily. No, it is true that where there are people there are problems.

    But I like the insight that if you feel truly called to a situation, you are God's person to overcome those problems and bring renewal to that church. The church to which I was called in 1986 had dismissed its pastor and its minister of music; the secretary had left; and the assistant pastor was planning to leave. But as we talked about my coming there, I developed such a passion for that place and that community, and, although I tried to work directly on some of the lingering issues, essentially I just went about the business of preaching, teaching, pastoring, and strategizing, and lived through eighteen happy years until retirement. "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it", but when the Lord is in it, all things are possible!
     
  14. mnw

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    I have definitely seen pastors taken by the Lord to a particular church who was gifted to deal with a a particular situation.

    To some degree I feel I am in such a position now with a difficult problem that has come up. The former pastor would have probably been able to deal with the situation better than me, but for that very reason I think the individual invovled would have just allowed their feelings to bubble under the surface. As it is I think they have seen my youth and inexperiance and the Lord has used that to bring it to the fore. Now it can be dealt with.

    Though I have to say. The church I am at is blessed and able to deal with problems rather than be problem makers. Kind of lLike Tom was saying, trouble has come to them rather than them causing the troouble.

    Do you think pastors of small churches are just as likely as pastors of large churches to get a career mentality rather than a ministry minded focus?
     

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