Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Post for Churches Looking for Pastors and Pastors Looking for Associates

Every now and then I hear from men from a particular sort of fundamentalist background whose theological convictions and philosophy of ministry are increasingly incompatible with the sort of churches they've lived and ministered in. One way to characterize that shift might be that they're increasingly interested in the centrality of the gospel to Christian life and pastoral ministry, and decreasingly interested in the centrality of ecclesiastical separation or particular applications of the Bible to behavioral standards.

I have varying levels of personal familiarity with these guys. The common denominator, more often than not, is that we both have a high level of awareness of and affinity for 9Marks principles and priorities. In most cases I know enough to tell a church that they're worth talking to, but not enough to offer a thorough reference on their giftedness and qualification for ministry. And these guys have varying levels of formal training and pastoral ministry experience.

If you represent a church looking for a pastor or you're a pastor looking to call an associate/assistant, and that's the sort of guy you're looking for, I'd be happy to help you connect. E-mail me at the address in the sidebar.


Jeremy said...

What if you're one of those guys? I find myself in that unfortunate predicament right now.

Justin said...

Any advice for a guy desiring to serve as that kind of pastor/associate pastor? Particularly one who doesn't have "official" pastoral experience, aside from a brief internship, is about to graduate from grad school, is currently part of a non-denominational church plant who doesn't have a real need for another pastor.

Ben said...

Jeremy, tough spot, but it's not hopeless. Some suggestions:

1. Get yourself in the right kind of church. By that I mean, not only one that has the kind of priorities and values we're talking about, but also one that is in the business (which I'd call a biblical obligation) of identifying and equipping gifted and qualified men for vocational ministry.

2. If your seminary is an obstacle to getting in that kind of church, transfer to one that isn't. Even if it costs you some credits and a year or two of your life, I suspect it'll be worth it. E-mail me for suggestions.

3. If you feel like you're too far along in your education to make that sacrifice, plan to relocate and plant yourself in that sort of church after you're done with your education. That'll probably mean a non-ministry job for a while, but if you pay the price and pour yourself into your church, it'll pay off. Some of those churches might have internships available. Apply.

Ben said...


Have you talked to your pastor about it? That's the best place to start. One thing to consider might be volunteering to serve as an unpaid assistant pastor in some role. That will provide experience that will benefit you and also communicate to people looking at your resume.

Depending where you are in grad school, you might also push on to an MDiv or a ThM in a place that would help you build a network of relationships. Also, see #3 above.

d4v34x said...

Ben said...

I don't intend to to support LDS matches.

Terry Lange said...

Just graduated with a MDiv been looking for a year and finding nothing. I can identify with Jeremy. I have spoken with my pastor and currently serve as a deacon. Being a deacon is far different in this ministry than being an elder in most ministries.

Looking for some sane counsel because so far have not been very fruitful

Other Jeremy said...

I am in the same boat as the other Jeremy, except that I have been serving in vocational ministry for a time (as a missionary). I am looking at working a "secular" job (is there really such as a thing as secular work for the redeemed?) while serving a church that espouses the same theology and philosophies that I do. Truth be told, its not an easy situation to be in, but I am thankful that many of my generation are finding themselves in similar situations. It demonstrates that God is sovereignly raising up new leaders who are concerned for the centrality of the Gospel and the glory of God in all things.