Over the past few weeks, we've prayed a few times for associate pastors who were considering the transition to senior or lead pastor, within a church hierarchy. Most recently, I did have a real life situation that prompted this being a focus of prayer for the Bring Me 70 community.
Now, knowing that this transition is taking place, a detail in the story prompts this aspect of our prayer focus today. When my friends stepped in to candidate for this Senior Pastor position, the church overwhelming responded in favor of them. And I immediately recalled what our Senior Pastor shared when he announced this process was taking place... advice that he was passing along, having heard it many years before, that was given to his father, as a young pastor:
When you candidate for a church, you'll know very quickly, a sense of the Spirit, as to whether it's the place God would have you to be or whether you should wait for what's next. And just that quick... here was a favorable response to my friend, in overwhelming support.
It just goes to show, the importance, of how much both a pastoral candidate and a seeking church need to be in prayer and Godly counsel as to who God would have placed in positions of ministerial leadership and pastoral office.
What if the church was so desperate, they just picked the 1st person that came into the picture. What if they were so tired of waiting, they settled on less than what God had for them? This isn't case with my friend, but what if they were so ready for a change, they took a church that was not a good fit. What if impatience got the best of them and the rushed the decision?
Disaster for both parties. A ministry ruined. A church crushed. A witness in the community blotched. A family uprooted and relocated, unnecessarily. A congregation neglected and left feeling abandoned because those in charge made some bad calls and plays.
Plus... let's face the reality of life for a moment. A transition in church leadership as a pastor moves to what God has planned for them, means the church they depart now faces that same transition process! Corporations go through the same thing, but somehow hiring and firing in ministry feels like human resources on spiritual steroids. At least it would to me. Such decisions would keep me up at night, long hours and days after I had drenched and doused them in prayer.
Perhaps I'm hitting too close to home as you read this. But life is real. So is ministry. And just like the secular marketplace makes decisions that are best for the company and sometimes people get hurt; so to, churches face similar challenges. What's best for the church, the protection of congregation, the integrity of the faith... and yes, the soul of the individual. It's all the more reason to pray regarding this element of church life. Which we're starting now.
Pray, this #seniorPastorMonday, for churches that are some place of transition, be it with pastors, deacons or positions of staff members. Pray for divine wisdom and revelation, that pastors are placed in right churches, congregations and communities... not because one is better in nature or in the offer, but because it's God's will and perfect plan, that they be placed where they are for such a time as this. Pray for direction in the management of the human resources element of church life; for wisdom in handling situations that need to be dealt with, while still expressing, the compassion and love of Christ throughout the conversation. May churches know the decision God would have them to make for their ministry, as much as the pastor would know the will of God is for their calling. Pray for a peace that surpasses all understanding; regardless of the outcome... even when there is no understanding to be found.
May God be glorified.... even in the most difficult of decisions and the most agonizing of processes.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.