July 2, 2012

Candidating: Is This the Right Church? Part II

When considering a move to minister in a new place, some applicants look for the perfect situation. Pleasant location, climate and cultural offerings. Ivy league-caliber schools. Lots of zeros on the paycheck. A church with no problems and a large building. As my husband might say, "Good luck with that." 
Only God's will is perfect. In reality, there is no perfect church and no perfect minister. Search committees strive to give an honest picture of their church, and they hope the candidates don't miss seeing how God is furthering His kingdom in that place. A candidate and his wife need to seek God's good, acceptable and perfect will in this move, not some human ideal. (See Romans 12:2)
There is something more important than comfort zones. On a university campus, students hang out with people who look and act just like they do. The Asian serious students and the party-loving frat guys stay in their respective comfort zones and don't benefit from what the other group can contribute. 
Women in ministry can't cling to a comfort zone. They know God calls them to be part of the body of Christ where not everyone is exactly alike. It is also part of God's design for His children to need each other. God may bring a ministry couple to a church where the members look and think in a different way than they do.  These Christians are the very ones who need the couple's unique gifts to grow in faith. (See I Corinthians 12:21.)
God equips those He calls. I used to avoid using 5th gear in our manual transmission car just because it frightened me.  I asked my husband, "How could I stop the car suddenly from such a high gear?" He wisely said, "The same way you stop it in 1st gear." 
Women may feel unprepared to minister to an unfamiliar people.  But God, in His infinite wisdom, equips His children for what He calls them to do. Whatever circumstances and experiences He brought into their lives up until this point are important for what happens beyond this point. In that sense, a ministry woman is perfectly prepared for the church where God wants her to be. God builds on what He already taught her.  (See Hebrews 13:21)
The grass is greener for a reason. Can you relate to a sheep staring longingly at the greener grass over on the other side?  I once heard someone quip that all the other sheep who tried out that grass had been eaten by a wolf.
Sometimes a ministry couple is discontent with their current situation. It is hard for them to accept that God wants them to stay because another church seems so good compared to the current, imperfect church. The right church for that pastor may be the one he already has. God might show this to him through the lack of a call. The reason is not always known, but it is still God's perfect will. (See Philippians 4:11)
People and places are not perfect. And yet, God uses the imperfect to show His own perfection. Ultimately, if a couple goes in faith to where God calls them, the minister and the ministered-to will enjoy God's favor. That is better than a church with no problems.

Two weeks ago, I posted Candidating: Am I Mrs. Right? Part 1. Look for Part III about Mistakes Candidates Make on July 16. And don't forget to add your blog to our forthcoming blogroll!

1 comment:

  1. Ah, the comfort zone. I am wondering if heaven is the ultimate comfort zone; here, there's still messy work to be done.


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