Sunday, May 15, 2011


A friend in need of a steady job applied for a seemingly providentially open music position in his church, but the church, like most modern US churches, decided to form a search committee to look for the best qualified candidate (in theory both inside and outside the church).  The search committee (as they most always do) ended up hiring one of these outside people  who is now moving here.  They just have to pray she works out.  They don't really know if she will because, you see, she's not an active member of their church body, and they've never lived alongside her.  Apparently it's an acceptable risk.  As a result, an active member of their church body who was equipped for that ministry is now once again trying to find a job to help support his family.

Some churches do this because they want to be taken seriously.  They want to show that they are seeking high quality.  They don't want to be tied just to their own small talent pools.  They want to bring in new blood and not just stagnate with the people they have on hand.  They want to be like businesses, more or less. 

I guess they don't know that this strategy often doesn't work in businesses either.  Many businesses say they promote internally, but most who say that still hire externally.  When they do, they hire people who take a ton of time to train up to speed when a competent, tested candidate already exists inside the business.  There's a lot of irritation and frustration in these situations, as there often are when upper management dictates policies that work poorly on the front lines.

What I can't understand is why the local church wants to act like a business anyway.  We're supposed to be a body of believers with a common purpose.  The Holy Spirit equips us all for ministry to each other and to the world.  I guess it just seems odd to me that we're so unwilling to trust that the Holy Spirit equips each church body to sustain itself.

It's not that I think local churches should never allow "outsiders" in.  However, don't you think the Holy Spirit brings in/provides who is needed to support the local body from within the local body itself?  Shouldn't the church look within to find who they can train and equip for necessary ministries?  If there is no one, then it would make sense to look out in the wider body. 

When we start acting like a business first, we lose sight of the fact that we are supposed to be first of all a community, a family of believers made up of many members who all function as a whole.  When we take matters into our own hands, it's like we don't trust God to get it right.  We end up leaving our own in need out in the cold when we had it within our power to help them by letting them use their gifts to benefit the body as a whole.  Isn't that what the church should be?  Why should we quench their use of that spiritual gift in our quest for "legitimacy" and "being taken seriously" by the world.  Is that right?  Is that where our focus should be?

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