Tuesday, July 26, 2005

God's Calling and The Church

Let me describe to you what it means to be 'called' into ministry:

God grabs a hold of you and puts His needs on your mind and soul. For instance, youth ministry. God wants you to be a youth minister. He sees what is happening to teenagers and their problems, but few people attempt to relate to them. Teens are susceptible to moral relativism and peer pressure more than any other age group. Teens need male and female Christ-like role models who are living God's will. So...God needs you!

Next, all you can think about are helping youths and discerning their needs. You begin volunteering in your church's youth ministry. Soon, you begin trusting relationships with the students, leading Sunday school classes, and fellowship activities. You even get invited by the students to go out eating or bowling. The youth ministry grows and you continue volunteering for years. But wait, there's more...

One day God says to you, "Now go and do." He even presents opportunities to become a full-time youth minister. You're excited! Your family cheers you on! Your pastor fully supports you!

But therein lies the problem.

You've never been a minister; you have worked in the secular work force for a long time. Churches, looking for a youth minister, put a high priority on ministry experience and a seminary degree.

After interviewing with several churches, you get the same answer: No experience, no seminary degree, no job. Sorry. We love that the Lord has called you into ministry, and you definitely have a heart for youths but...

Now, is it just me or is the church becoming more and more like a business? On average, it takes a church 5 - 9 months to hire a youth minister. On average, a youth minister only stays 18 - 36 months at a particular church before they move on. Does this seem strange? With senior pastors, the hiring process can last well over a year!

Are these hiring practices valid? Are they really necessary?
Committees say they're being led by the Holy Spirit when actually they're being led by the person's resume. I wonder what would've happened if Peter, Paul, James, and John all went through a hiring or personnel committee. Thankfully, we will never know.

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