Wednesday, March 07, 2007

When does ministry begin?

One of the things that Mark Dalbey said in his Candidating and Transition into Ministry class was very well-stated:

"You need to remember that, on the interview weekend you are beginning your ministry to that church, if you end up going to that church. If you don't, then you have a weekend of ministry at that church."
I think this is so important to remember, and too easy to forget. This is a key part of viewing the process itself as a ministry, and if more candidates approached it this way they would fair far better.

The leader of one search team I spoke with recently commented on the way that candidates approached and communicated with his team. He said that many candidates had an almost aggressive attitude, demanding that he respond on their time-table and acting with suspicion at every question.

Why would candidates do this? It may be that they have baggage that they aren't aware of: they've been burned by a trick question in the past, or they have had a church fail to respond to them in a timely manner (or at all). Or it may be that they are forgetting the very impetus for their contact with that search team: they are hoping to be considered for a Pastoral role.

Dalbey's words are a good reminder: you won't suddenly change once you have a Pastoral call, get ordained, or are granted title of "Pastor." You'll still be the same broken, weak person you are today-- utterly useable by Christ for His glory, and strong in your weakness. How you treat a search team today is how you will treat your congregation of tomorrow-- after all, that search team could be your congregation of tomorrow.

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