And Another Thing…


Another Reason I Don’t Miss the Ministry

Considering this bizarre ad for a minister, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I have copied it in its entirety. The only changes that I have made are to remove identifying information, put the ad in blocks, and clean up the text to make it easier to read.  I have also inserted my own comments (not indented) between the copious requirements made by the church in question.

The _____ Church of Christ, a new congregation, seeks a dynamic full-time minister to come and minister to us. The church started in the ______ area almost two years ago and now has 150 members. We are now at a point where we need a full-time minister to come and join the team. This will be our first full time staff position. We still do not own a building, so please send your resume via email. If you are interested in a rewarding and successful ministry, then please apply. Here are the qualifications we are looking for:

Okay, nothing too weird so far, except for the bit about being interested in a rewarding and successful ministry. Apparently, they want to avoid those preachers who are only interested in failing ministries.

Professional: Leadership – Training and/or Understanding of the dynamics of leadership and management. Past experience and success in organizational management is a plus. Self-Starter – The candidate should be a self-starter, not requiring supervision.  Visionary – The candidate should be a visionary, having a clear vision for the church and the ability to realize that vision. Musical Ability – Though not required, the ability to train or lead in the praise and worship team and the music ministry is a huge plus. Technological – Familiarity with technology is greatly desired. Computer and PowerPoint experience is a must. Presentation – It is desired that the candidate have a strong and polished public presentation with a good public speaking voice. Supervision – The candidate should be willing to work under the direction and supervision of the leadership committee that is temporarily in place until the appointment of elders. Track Record – The candidate must have a track record of church growth and experience in a medium and large church environments.  

First, I love that they give the option of having “Training and/or Understanding of the dynamics of leadership and management.”  What would they do with the applicant who says “I have been trained in the dynamics of leadership and management, but I don’t really understand them”?

Next, they say that the candidate should not require supervision. However, 7 sentences later they say that “the candidate should be willing to work under the direction and supervision of the leadership committee that is temporarily in place until the appointment of elders.”  This reminds me of that great scene in Raising Arizona where John Goodman and William Forsythe rob the bank and shout, “Freeze! Everybody down on the ground!” and the old man says, “Well, which is it, young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground? Meanin’ to say, if’n I freeze I can’t rightly drop, and if’n I drop, well, I’m-a gonna be in motion…”

And don’t forget the last part about the track record. That will be important below. 

Theological:  Training – The candidate must hold an advanced degree from a theological training institution. A minimum of Master’s level is preferred.  

A little stringent perhaps, but not unreasonable.

Contemporary – The Candidate should have a good understanding of contemporary culture and be able to relate his ministry directly to modern culture.

What does this mean, exactly? Do they want somebody who reads People magazine or the Economist?

Pastoral – The candidate should have the ability to perform pastoral duties for the congregation such as counseling, visitation, encouragement, etc. Conservative – The Candidate should be conservative theologically and believe that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God and believe in the five steps of salvation. The candidate must not have any liberal leanings.

As the eminent professor Jack Lewis of Harding Graduate School of Religion once said, “The only reason that there are five steps to salvation is that our hands have five fingers.”

Tradition – The candidate must be well versed in Church of Christ traditions that date to the early restoration movement and comfortable with it. The Candidate should also be aware of the centuries of Christian traditions that extend back to the first three centuries of the church and be willing to re-capture what has been lost.

So they want one man to accomplish what the entire Restoration Movement has not been able to accomplish in 200+ years?

Small Groups – The Candidate must understand and be in support of relational small group ministries in the church.  

No problem here, I am very much pro-small group. I recognize that some of you might not be.

Bible Translation – The Candidate must agree to use only King James or the 1901 American Standard Version of the Bible in his public preaching and teaching.  

Yet, they want him to be able to relate to contemporary culture. Irony, thy name is church.

Additional Training – It is strongly desired that the candidate engage in ongoing training and learning through classes, seminars, and workshops. The congregation will pay 50% of expenses incurred for these.

When will he find the time?

Issues – The congregation expects the candidate to be knowledgeable on various religious issues, especially those in the Churches of Christ. The candidate must be willing to speak and teach concerning these issues so as to bring the congregation up to speed on them so that they are warned and instructed.

So they want their preacher to tell them what to think? Sad, but not uncommon. Most churches don’t come out and admit it in such blatant terms though.

Purpose Driven – The candidate must have a Purpose-Driven ministry philosophy and be able to lead in the development of purpose driven ministry.

Are they aware that the Purpose-Driven model of ministry is an issue of dispute in many Christian fellowships?

Personal Discipline – The candidate must have a strong prayer life and engage regularly in spiritual disciplines  

Me, I’m partial to preachers who don’t waste time praying. Seriously though, I have a feeling that the preacher who accepts this job will be praying a lot, but not for the reasons that the church expects. 

Relational – The candidate must be strongly relational and work well with other people

Because this isn’t one of those congregations where the ministers don’t need people skills!

Spirituality – The candidate should not be success driven, but have a deep, abiding relationship with God that shows in his humility, thoughtfulness, and reflections.

This is especially ironic in light of the requirement listed in the first part that he have a proven track record of growth.

Marriage – It is strongly desired that the candidate should be happily married.  

But they will take unhappily married over single.

Children – It is desired that the candidate have at least two children, or plan on having at least two children.  Age – The candidate should be between 30 – 40 years of age.

Any other requirements? Should guys with too much grey hair (or less than a full head of hair) not apply? How about if he is over 30 but looks younger? What if he is under 40 but looks older? Beard or no beard? Boxers or briefs? How should his wife and kids cut their hair and dress?

Every time I miss full-time ministry, something like this ad fixes that.

[H/T: Kingdom Seeking]


Filed under: Faith and Religion, Rants, , ,

13 Responses

  1. Trey says:

    Ads for ministers are extremely funny to me. I always look from the curious standpoint. I like it when they say “only sound gospel preachers wanted.” I don’t think there is a minister in the entire world that doesn’t think he’s sound.

  2. K. Rex Butts says:

    I get a kick oout of the fact that they only want the preacher to use either the KJV or the 1901 ASV. I realize that both translations are a little old but do they realize that there is quite a difference between the KJV and the ASV?


  3. dannydodd says:

    I have come to learn that the ad really does not always equate to the reality of the job.

    The search committee spends a lot of time constructing these ads- then when they find their man-the stuff in the ad fades into the background.

  4. David B says:

    A preacher friend and I regularly discuss writing a book called “How NOT To Hire a Preacher”. Thanks, Mike, for bringing chapter one to our attention.

    If this church is as successful as they say in the first paragraph, why do they need a full-time minister? Sounds like they are already doing pretty good on their own, and a full-time outsider will only mess up a formula they have that seems to be successful.

    I’m also amazed at the internal contradictions…they want a contemporary guy, but only one who uses translation that was dated a hundred years ago? They want to be conservative, but have a worship team? Are you sure that this is a Church of Christ?

    I turn 38 this year and work really hard…but no way would I even be able to be half the man that they want this young’n to be.

  5. Kelly says:

    I just sent in my application. I am the candidate they so desperately need!

  6. Adam G. says:

    I saw this over on Rex’s blog. The thing I mentioned over there just now is how contradictory this is. For instance, the KJV or ASV 1901 are not versions I’d expect a “Purpose Driven Church” to use.

    I don’t believe this ad is real. But…I’m from Missouri (“Show Me”).

  7. odgie says:

    Trey – It would be a liberal who questions his own soundness 🙂

    Rex – It doesn’t matter. Everyone knows that post 1901 translations are the on-ramp to apostasy

    Danny – I’m sure that is the case more often than not

    Dave – You and your colleague need to start writing that book. Now.

    Kelly – I would love to be a fly on the wall for your interview

    Adam – As you may have seen at Rex’s blog, he and I both got this off of the website of a prominent C of C university. If it’s a joke, I bet they won’t be happy about it.

  8. […] wonder how your “ad” for a ministry position might be viewed by potential ministers? One interesting post from what appears to be a former minister in the church of christ. Interesting and would like to […]

  9. Church Observer says:

    I think Jesus himself would be found wanting by this group if he were to apply….

  10. Kelly says:

    Mike, no need to be in attendance, the awesomeness of my interview would be legend.

  11. Brett White says:

    Brilliant articulation,

    and on the other hand…

    shame on you for telling us who we really are!

  12. Kathi says:

    Jesus WOULD be found wanting, as He was not married, as far as we know!

    That’s all I have energy for now…more to come…


  13. odgie says:

    Church Observer – Too true. However, I doubt that any church would “hire” Jesus if he were to apply in person…too much talking about the poor, not enough talking about politics.

    Brett – Thanks for your comment. If you want to see some folks really called out, check out my links page and visit some of the preachers. These cats are telling it like it is.

    Kathi – This is another one you may want to share with your classmates, just for kicks.

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