A church of 500 wants a new music minister. Qualifications desired? 12 years of music experience and a Masters in Music.
A church of 150 wants an associate pastor. Qualifications desired? Masters in Bible, proven success in a previous church, and correct answers to several questions about the relationship with your wife.
A church of 150 wants a senior pastor. Qualifications desired? Experienced preacher.
A church of 50 wants a senior pastor. Qualifications desired? A wife with musical abilities.
A church of 500 wants a youth minister. Qualifications desired? 7 years of experience in a church of 500 or more and a Master of Divinity.
A church of 200 wants a preacher. Qualifications desired? 5 years experience.
A church of 150 wants a youth minister. Qualifications required? 5-7 years of experience. Musical abilities. Bachelor’s Degree.
I think you get the point. As I began looking for churches to serve in while pursuing my M.Div., this is what I ran into. It seemed like every church I looked at had high qualifications desired. Some were as ridiculous as 12 years of experience for a church of 100!
My favorite out of the examples given had to be the one that said: “Qualifications desired? A wife with musical abilities.” How is that a qualification?! I guess that’s an easy way to narrow down the playing field.
As I was looking through all of these churches and what they were looking for in a candidate, I began to laugh. I thought to myself, “Jesus couldn’t even get hired at this church!” Wait. Does that sound right? Jesus couldn’t get hired at a church?
Was he married? No…
Did he have musical abilities? According to “Jesus Christ, Superstar” he did…
How many years of experience? Well…3 years of ministry…
How about education? He had it…we can assume…
Did his wife have musical abilities? Refer to the top…
It is quite startling. Isn’t it? Somewhere in the history of the church, we began placing higher and higher qualifications on ministers. Part of me is not opposed to this. I value education. I believe that we should educate ourselves as much as possible.
But as for the ridiculous years of experience…that is a little out of hand. There used to be a time when churches gave chances. That is one thing I love about my home church. They desire to hire someone without experience. They want to be able to give those years of experience to someone.
Churches seem to no longer want to take chances. Perhaps that is because they have been burnt. Perhaps it is because they are concerned about numbers. Perhaps it is because they think they are at a level where they deserve the best.
I want to work at a church one day that takes chances. I want to work at a church that looks at experience on paper and says, “So you don’t have a lot. But tell me what you think you can do.” The church needs to begin taking chances again. Not just within hiring pastors; but chances in general (another topic for another time).
So, if you are a church and you are reading this, give someone a chance. Take a risk. Isn’t there some sense of ego in desiring someone with 7 years of experience? Have we, as a church, begun to think of ourselves as advanced as needing that? Do we think we “deserve” that? It is rightfully ours? Is it okay to desire that because we are so big? The answer to all of these questions: yes. Because one person can destroy the Church. Christ’s bride is doomed if you hire someone inexperienced. Because those ministers involved in the affairs, embezzlement scams, and porn searching were all inexperienced ministers….weren’t they? Or were they ministers who worked on gaining years of experience and neglected integrity.
I’m happy that God looks at the heart and not at anything else. It gives me comfort. Whenever I read Hebrews 11, I am reminded that God does not desire 7 years of experience, a M.Div., and a wife with musical abilities. He desires us to want to be used.
So how is this doable? This sounds pretty, but it is not realistic. This would take too much time. We would have to call all these candidates. We would actually have to carry on conversations with them. We would have to treat them like people rather than numbers. In reality, we would have to give more attention to who we are hiring. And who knows…if we stopped looking at the years of experience a typical workplace desires, maybe we would hire Jesus (figuratively, of course…I’m not being literal. You see how this all connects to the beginning. It makes sense, right? I hope so.).