Thank you all for coming to the meeting tonight. I can see, by the fact that so many of you made the effort to get here on a busy week night, that this is an important issue. The fact is, the very future of our church is at stake, and so yes—this is a hugely important step that we’re going to take tonight, just a few minutes from now.
Before we get into that, I’d like to take a few minutes to bring everybody up to speed first. As you all know, we’ve been two long years without a head pastor, ever since we had to let Pastor Jesus go. I don’t need to remind anybody how stressful the last couple of years has been for all of us, here at our beloved church. You all remember how we voted on that issue. Quite simply it wasn’t working out, either for him or for us.
In the end, the fact that Pastor Jesus displayed an unbiblical, unteachable attitude was what ultimately led to his dismissal. I won’t spend too much time on this, but you all know that his refusal to stop preaching his so-called “story sermons,” combined with a near-total absence of explanation about his stories, demonstrated clearly that he didn’t have what it took to be the leader of this flock of faithful sheep. It’s a shame, really, because as you all remember, when we hired Pastor Jesus, we all had such high hopes of what he could do for our church. It just didn’t work out, in the end, unfortunately.
We haven’t heard anything about what he’s up to lately, but we wish him all the best in his new endeavors, whatever they may be. It’s time to put the past behind us—forgive and forget—and move on to more positive things.
And that makes a great segue into the reason we’re all here tonight: focus on the positive! Now, after years of patiently waiting for the leading of the Spirit in this matter, we are certain that God has finally answered our faithful prayers! After reviewing the resumes and CV’s of literally dozens of potential pastors, and spending time fasting and praying about it for literally days, we on the Pulpit Steering Committee have finally discovered someone that we believe could be a great fit for our church. And last week, as of course you’re all aware, Pastor John and his family traveled up here to our church, and spent the entire weekend candidating for the job of Senior Pastor. And we are here tonight to cast our vote for or against him.
But before we vote, we wanted to take a few minutes and review the situation, just to refresh your memories of all the things that took place last weekend when Pastor John was here. Let me just say at the beginning that this whole situation is something we take with the utmost of seriousness. Handing over the keys of a building worth nearly a million dollars, not to mention the eternal fate of over two hundred adults and children, to a complete and total stranger, is not something this Steering Committee takes lightly. You can’t get to know someone overnight, after all. No—it takes at least a solid weekend in order to build that level of trust!
Pastor John: The Weekend’s Activities
So, if you were here last weekend, which most of you were, then you took part in some, or all, of the many activities we had planned to get to know Pastor John and his family. I’ll just briefly recap the various events we lined up for our pastoral candidate. On Friday night, you’ll recall, we had a great barbecue with Pastor John and his family, and then a fantastic potluck dinner on the Saturday night. There’s no better way to get to know someone than across a table, sharing a wonderful meal together. It was a great, informal time to find out about them. Some of us drove him and his family around the town on Saturday afternoon, showed him the sights, you know; and later that day, his wife had the opportunity to sit down and have coffee with some of the wives of those on the Leadership Team. They all came away from that meeting, and had nothing but good things to say about Pastor John’s lovely wife.
On the Sunday morning, we all were given a fantastic opportunity to hear Pastor John bring a message from the Scripture. He preached a dynamic, powerful sermon, which was then followed up by a question-and-answer lunch session, immediately after the service. Then, on Sunday evening, we invited anyone in a leadership position to attend a special meeting. At that get-together, Pastor John delivered an interesting talk on “What constitutes a leader?” and then he and his family were driven to the airport, just in time to catch their plane back home. I’d just like to take this opportunity to say thank you for attending some, or all, of these events; at least for those of you who did. Overall, we had a great turnout for nearly all of them.
For those of us on the Steering Committee, the most important issue when considering a pastoral candidate comes down to this: can he preach a good sermon? After all, this is the most important job for a pastor. I don’t need to remind you that this was the root cause behind why we finally had to let Pastor Jesus go. As I mentioned a minute ago, you’ll remember from Sunday morning that Pastor John did a great job preaching from the Word. As you’ll no doubt recall, he preached about “forgiveness” from the book of Ephesians. He even applied it with some timely—and relevant—applications at the end! Personally, I think it’s about time we had some good, solid meat from the Word of God—grounded, biblical preaching that helps us understand how to live a victorious Christian life in our confusing world of today. This is exactly what we’ve desperately needed at this church—someone to unpack the Bible for us; to explain (and apply it) in plain language that everybody can understand. Not like Pastor Jesus, and all his stories that didn’t make any sense.
Church Growth Strategies
Of course, as we all know, there’s more to being a pastor than just preaching good, solid sermons—as important as that may be. At the end of the day, the senior pastor is the leader of the church, so that’s a highly important consideration to look at also. And if you recall from the Sunday night leadership team meeting, after he talked about what constitutes a great leader, someone asked him a very important question: “Pastor John, if you were to land this job, what is your vision for how you would grow this church?”
Without batting an eye, he had a ready answer: “My job is to preach the Word with faithfulness, and to teach you how it applies to your lives.” Talk about confidence! We believe that this was the best—and only—answer he could have given. After all, a man who has graduated from both Bible College and Seminary should be able to preach from the Bible; but not everyone can tell people how they should live it. And of course, we firmly believe, that he himself will live out what it means to be a true and godly Christian.
The leader of any church, first of all, has to model the type of behavior and actions they want to see in their followers. Integrity and credibility are critically important! We firmly believe that his solid biblical expository sermons, combined with the godly leadership example set by Pastor John, will finally start to grow this church once again. Perhaps now, with some good and timely preaching from the pulpit, and strong leadership, Pastor John will win back those families that Pastor Jesus unfortunately drove away. Even beyond that, we prayerfully trust that under Pastor John’s inspired leadership, we’ll start to add some new members, and get this church back on the winning track.
How is all of this going to happen, you might ask? Even though he’ll be getting paid a full-time salary, we can’t expect the man simply to do everything on his own, of course. That wouldn’t be fair to him, or to us, now would it? All of us need to be reasonable here. Here’s how we see this happening—think of it as more of a partnership, really, between he and us. Every one of you needs to manage his or her expectations and be realistic.
This is how we see it all taking place: once Pastor John gets hired, settles in and starts preaching, that will be the time for all of us to start pulling our weight. We’re thinking at most, maybe a couple of weeks after he gets set up here, all the pieces will then be in place and things can start to happen. At that time, we’ll be asking all the faithful members of this church to step up; it’s time for boldness and convictions. Even though this is a scary proposition for most of you, I don’t have to remind you that the Bible teaches us this truth: evangelism is expected of every single Christian.
We’ll expect you to go around to your neighbors’ houses and start inviting them to church; and don’t overlook your friends, family members and co-workers either. After all, don’t forget, we’ll finally have a new, dynamic pastor who can preach! With this teamwork strategy—all of us partnering with Pastor John—we prayerfully believe that for once, this church will be sure to grow numerically. Now, just remember that you’re not the only ones out there doing it, either. Part of the job description would be for Pastor John to knock on at least 50-60 doors in the neighborhood every week, also, so he’d be partnering with all of us to get the Gospel out there.
Basically, what we’re saying is this: all you have to do is get ‘em through the church doors, and Pastor John will take care of the rest. After all, he’s the paid professional who’s been to both Bible College and Seminary; he’ll seal the deal, and the church will begin growing. We’re certain that God will bless this strategy, once the church starts functioning like the healthy body the Scripture describes. Isn’t that what everybody wants, after all? Of course you do.
Pastor John’s Job Description
By the way, have you seen the job description for Pastor John? There are copies floating around here somewhere, but I’ll just take a minute here and run through the highlights, just so we’re all clear on this thing. Basically, in exchange for his salary—which admittedly, isn’t a lot of money, but it’s the best that we can do right now—we expect him to put in an average of 50-60 hours a week. If, however, the church has grown numerically over the course of a year or so, keep in mind we could always revisit the issue of his salary. Think of it as a kind of incentive plan, or a bonus feature—that is, if he really puts his head down and works hard to grow the church, which we truly believe he can accomplish.
Let’s talk about what Pastor John’s duties will be, then; we went over all this with him last weekend, and he was in full agreement. To begin with, he’ll take care of the church finances, and the building maintenance and grounds. It’s critically important that the church present a good image to the community, so we may have to look into finally buying a lawnmower. Might be a thought, also, to think about having a fundraiser to buy some paint for the church exterior too—that would make a good summer project for him when the weather’s half decent.
We know that he’s a gifted and dynamic teacher, also. To that end, Pastor John will also be required to lead several Bible studies throughout the week in members’ homes, and most importantly of course, he’ll preach the sermon every Sunday. We’re hoping within six months or so, to add a second Sunday service too, once the church starts growing again.
Even though we haven’t had one in a few years, we’ve also asked him to start up a Wednesday night church service too, and preach a sermon for that also. OK, just let me touch on personal expenses…we’ll also expect him to provide his own cell phone and vehicle, and be available for church members throughout the week—basically he’ll be on call 24/7 for all your emergencies and problems. He and his lovely wife are also available for counseling, evenings and weekends too. Also, just thought I’d mention–if you need a lift to the store, or can’t get a ride to that doctor’s appointment—Pastor John’s your man. We told him he needed to be available day and night, as a good shepherd should. We might even look into buying a church van that he can work on, and use for running those kinds of errands–that is, if nobody else needs it.
OK, let’s touch on how much time he would get off. After his first full year of service here, he’ll be granted a week’s worth of vacation, with an additional week given after five years. He’ll need to schedule any holidays he takes around non-busy times, too, just to make sure he’s here during the summer and so forth when kids are off school—that kind of thing. I’m sure we’ll work it all out. Oh, yeah–he’d have most Mondays off, too, but if something important does come up, he’ll need to be on call, even at home. He’s got no problem with that, either.
Now, this is something that we need to discuss. It’s a potentially unpleasant subject, but we must go into this thing with clarity. What if there are problems with Pastor John? We don’t want a repeat of the whole Pastor Jesus scenario, when things ended up completely out of hand. It’s important to nip things like this in the bud, which is what Matthew 18 teaches us. It’s important that we go by the Bible on matters like this, of course.
On this point, both the Steering Committee and Leadership Team are in complete agreement—we want you to rest easy and not have any worries in this regard. It’s highly important that everybody knows that each member of this church is free to voice their concerns, should any issues arise with Pastor John. There are several possibilities for this, including e-mails, letters, texts, phone calls, and so forth; the point here is that we want you to know that Pastor John will have an open-door policy. Feel free to call him on his day off, too, if you have anything at all that you need to talk about–criticisms, complaints, or maybe just to talk to him about your problems. He’s happy to help.
As a godly man, and a real servant with a heart of gold, he’ll be nothing but appreciative of anybody who identifies a potential problem, or picks up on something that he’s doing wrong, and points it out to him right away. Even the best of leaders makes mistakes; we’re only human, after all. Of course, if you’re not comfortable contacting him directly, keep in mind that you can certainly come to one of us leaders to raise any possible issues you may be having with Pastor John.
Rest assured, we’ll deal with the issue quickly and discreetly, before things get out of hand. And just to be certain about this, we’ve included this all in his job description. We’d also set up weekly accountability meetings with those of us on the Leadership Team, just to make sure he’s putting in his required hours, and getting all of those important tasks done around the church. Accountability is a biblical concept, after all.
There’s just one more thing we need to mention, just before we get to the subject at hand—the vote for the new pastor. As another item of great news, don’t forget that we’re getting a two-for-one deal here! We made it clear, when they were here over the weekend, that we’d expect his wife to be involved in leading several unpaid ministries also. For years now, we’ve needed a choir director, for one; we’d like her to take on the role of the head of the drama team too. It would be great, as well, to have a consistent piano player for church services every week too; lucky for us, she’s an accomplished pianist, with a fantastic singing voice.
We’re also going to look into seeing if she’d take on the role of Children’s Ministry director; part of that would be implementing, and overseeing, of course, the Vacation Bible School program every summer. She’ll also teach the Sunday School lessons every week. I’m sure she’ll do a magnificent job. Oh, yes—nearly forgot, she can probably head up the Women’s Ministry too, and get some women’s retreats going. We’ve heard some fantastic reports about the many ministries she was a part of, back at Pastor John’s former church.
But remember: only Pastor John gets the paycheck—as technically we’re only hiring him, not her. But of course, we’re all certain that she’ll be a more-than-welcome addition to our wonderful church family here.
OK everybody, are we ready to vote? Any questions? No? Then great. All in favor of hiring Pastor John, please raise your right hand…
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