WHAT IS THE PRINCIPLE THAT WE SHOULD USE TO DETERMINE GOD’S WILL? DECISIONS IN MINISTRY
Let me bring to an end of this post with John MacArthur’s answer for a church getting a Pastor.
If you had to speak to a member of a pulpit committee out in the future, for your sons, your grandsons, what kind of time commitment would you encourage them to set aside for a pastor-teacher to be able to devote his time to preaching, teaching, studying the Word of God?
John MacArthur's Answer
You know what I would say to that? That’s a great question, and you know what I would say to that committee? I would say, "You find a nice apartment for this guy and his wife and his family, and you pledge six months to him, and you let him come, and six months later, you decide." That’s what I would say. That’s a contractual thing. You’re not going to just rise and fall on a few "sugar-stick" sermons and give this guy hope, and then chew him up and spit him out in little pieces as soon as he says something that the oldest and longest tenured Sunday School teacher doesn’t agree with. It only takes one of those kind of guys to destroy a young man’s ministry. It’s all about turf, and it’s all about the pastor preaching something that you’ve been teaching the opposite in your class and you just got exposed, and you’re not happy. Or, somebody moved your power base or made it a little smaller or whatever—it’s amazing.
I would say, I think the worst way to candidate people for a church is to have them fly into town, ask them an afternoon’s questions, have him preach three sermons, and then have the people vote. It’s ridiculous. What do the people know? They don’t know. Why would they even be involved? I think the leaders of the church need to get together and they need to say, "We think this man could be a candidate, and we’re going to have him come, we’’re going to find a place for him to live that’s furnished, and we’re going to put him there for six months, and we’re going to see if this is a relationship made in heaven or not." When the six months is over, you sit down in an amiable way. The people know they’re not stuck, he knows he’s not stuck; it’s a period of evaluation, etc. He’s fully supported, he’s cared for—and there would even be a bridge from then out, if necessary, until he could find another place.
This idea of churches picking pastors—the most crucial decision they have—and they do it when they don’t have a pastor, which means they’re leaderless! They appoint this ad hoc committee of people who all have different criteria, they bring in this poor guy with all kinds of high hopes, and then just chop his legs out from under him, and make him become some kind of warrior who has to defend his family and his children and his own integrity in a battle that rages. I just think we need more time than that to find out whether this is going to really work. During that six months would be the time, behind the scenes, when that potential pastor would hammer out doctrinal convictions and say, "This is where I’m going to go if I’m going to be here. I’m going to show you why I’m going to go there. It’s not about preaching a sermon on this or that you might like—everybody can do that—it’s about here’s what I believe, here’s the direction I think this church needs to go, here’s what we need to do, here’s what needs to be put in place." You don’t say that to everybody; you don’t say that to the whole congregation; you say that to those who are in responsible leadership, and you find out if their hearts are knit with you, and that’s the way you’re going to go."
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant, Friday October 13, 2006 Posted October 17, 2006
I am sure that most people who are in church leadership (those churches that I have been a part of) believe they are diligently seeking the Lord’s will, and they are doing to the best of their ability to accomplish God’s purpose and will for the local church. Their decisions are made with the best interest of the body of Christ.