Jun. 25, 2019

What time is it?

I attend a Southern Baptist Church. I love my church. What I love most about my church is the look on my husband’s face when he listens to both the music and the preaching. I also love the spiritual growth I’ve seen in him since we joined what some term as a “mega church.” It is a traditional church with conservative values. However, the pastors are opened and loving to everyone.

I prefer the United Methodist Church. I love their commitment to engaging beyond their walls by serving their community; especially meeting the needs of children. I like how the Elders of the UMC assign pastors to specific congregations based on unique needs. I like that once a pastor is assigned, they are paid by the UMC. It takes pressure off the pastor to please the heavy givers within the local church.

I know kings were selected in the Old Testament. Jesus handpicked His own disciples. I cannot find in scripture where a search committee was formed representing each adult age group and resumes were received, sorted, and agreed upon before interviews began. But, keep in mind, many churches run more on a business model than a theology method or system.

Sometimes a church needs a pastor, speaker, or preacher that isn’t necessarily someone they would choose for themselves. Sometimes the church itself is totally unaware of what’s missing. Sometimes an outsider can build a fire under a group of people. Other times, a homegrown person provides comfort. Comfort, however, is dangerous in any church. While you want a certain level of comfort, too much comfort produces stagnation. Could be why many churches are either not growing or are closing their doors.

We prefer to listen to the things we want to hear. We typically don’t select someone to lead us or teach us based on the discomfort they induce.

Groups need three different types of speakers/teachers/preachers. I think it is important to have someone in leadership fill each role, but consideration for what is needed is especially important when looking (or searching) for a new pastor.

Think about your church or a specific group you participate in. What is one word to describe their current status? Be honest. After you think about how you see them, ask yourself, “How does the outside world, our community, view us?” Those are important questions when it comes to selecting leadership.

God has called and empowered a variety of people with diverse talents and gifts to meet the needs of many, many groups. The key is for the church group to ask collectively, “What time is it?” Allow yourself this private thought: if you could change anything about the group what would it be? When you find what needs changing, you’ll know how leadership needs rearranging.

Most groups need one of the following:

Growth – Perhaps your church/group is stagnant? The stagnation might reflect itself in visitors who never return or members’ ways of thinking. The opposite is true. If there has been a recent growth spurt, your church/group may be experiencing growing pains. Unity is needed before your army can accept and complete its marching orders (Acts 1:8). Growth, or lack thereof, might be your group’s issue.

Pain – your church/group may have experienced loss and they need comfort. They may need comfort, but they do not need coddling. That’s another killer I see run rampant in churches. Either they’ve become stagnant due to comfort or they’ve grown useless due to coddling.   

Boost – it could be your group/church needs someone to help them celebrate a job well-done OR someone who needs to induce a reason to celebrate. Numbness in the Christian world basically extinguishes the Spirit’s fire.

Too many groups and too many organizations are comfortable. These groups tend to pick like thinkers as their leaders and/or speakers. Your people may fight change. If change is denied, groups often die. Balance is needed. We don’t want to send your group into shock, but we do want to give them a jolt towards spiritual growth!

Keep in mind that your prospective leader/pastor/teacher/speaker needs to accommodate the needs of your group. However, a speaker cannot reject God’s message while remaining effective and obedient. So, if they make you mad, perhaps God wanted a reaction from you? Could be God is speaking directly to you through them.

Let’s keep in mind the saying is true, “There is a right time for everything.” Ecclesiastes 3:1