In the Baptist tradition a "pulpit search committee" is given the task of finding suitable candidates for filling an open pastoral position in a church.
Below is a composite from real advertisements in a Baptist paper. I find them both amusing and typically sad. How did both Ed and Edith get elected to this committee?
First Baptist Church is seeking a full time pastor to lead and love our congregation. We are seeking an energetic and innovative minister who can recognize the untapped potential of influence in our community and restore our church to its vibrant past. The prospective minister should possess strong pulpit and leadership abilities and have a heart for the community. The prospective pastor should have excellent communication skills and work well with others.
We are looking for a strong leader who has passion for children’s ministries and missions and will show compassion for our elderly church members. Local residence requested. We are seeking a pastor with vision, leadership, and administrative ability to guide us to become the missional church we strive to be.
The successful candidate will have graduated from an accredited seminary. Preference will be given to candidates who have obtained a doctorate.
What I found so telling is that of the seven ads for pastors in this particular issue only one mentioned any sort of spiritual qualification, and that was "a spiritually mature, Christ-led pastor". Even more telling was that this was the only one of the seven that did not specify candidates possess at least a masters degree from an accredited seminary. How does education trump godliness? (FYI, I have no problem with being a seminary graduate. I are one.)
There's nothing wrong with seeking a pastor who can lead, communicate, is visionary, etc. But are those primary or secondary to having a growing spiritual life? And the comment about restoring the church to it's vibrant past...
How about "Looking for a pastor who's life models the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1"?
But nothing Ed and Edith do surprises me anymore.