The truth is that I also have the ability to influence “the bishop.” And the power is intoxicating. (Kidding.)
At the risk of sounding independently bishop-y, this is what I’m looking for when a church in transition (i.e. each one of them) asks for guidance as they seek a new pastor. Pastors equipped with these skills in their toolboxes are like gold.
I’m looking for pastors with:
- The ability to shift a congregation’s culture. This process is neither for the fainthearted, nor for those in a rush. But almost every congregation’s culture is in need of a culture shift.
- The ability to make connections between parishioners, community leaders, denominational resources, neighbors, and people who would never cross the threshold of a church building.
- The ability to love people authentically, even when they are cranky, anxious, and have no boundaries.
- The ability to mediate conflict with grace and firmness.
- Fearlessness in the face of angry/bullying/evil-ish behavior because they trust that God’s Spirit is more powerful than the most difficult member of their congregation.
- A working understanding and appreciation of multiculturalism.
- The ability and desire to work collaboratively with their own staff, parishioners, and colleagues both in and outside the denomination.
- The ability to articulate a deep, impactful faith in words and actions.
- A desire to model healthy boundaries and Sabbath-keeping.
- Knowledge of family systems and organizational management.
While Pastor Nominating Committees are looking first and foremost for “good preachers,” pastors who are “good with children and the elderly,” and those with excellent pastoral care chops, they cannot be effective without at least some of the tools mentioned above.
My hope is that all of us will continue to learn, continue to develop new skills, and continue to change. Otherwise we cannot expect our congregations to do the same.