Monday, May 1, 2023

Shopping for pastors retail style. . .

Although I knew it was happening, I did not realize the scope of it until it hit home.  The internet has not helped in the call process one bit.  It has become the obsession for those who base their judgments on all the wrong things and it has become the soft underbelly of churches already unsure of God's work of wisdom, guidance, and discernment.  Maybe we should throw all caution to the wind and simply market pastors like Amazon does its own products.

Instead of district presidents rating pastors or pastors rating themselves, we could have reviews and then we would be able to base a call to a pastor on the basis of a satisfaction survey or current reviews of him and his performance.  We could look at Amazon Pastors with five stars, generally expecting to pay a premium price or we could drop down a star or two to find a real bargain.  Instead of believing the Spirit is at work in the call process, we could skip the pretense of holiness and get down and dirty trying to shop for a pastor retail style.

If they knew they were being rated, it just might cure some of the affectations and differences among the clergy and make them more docile, more people pleasing, and more flexible in faith and practice.  After all, who wants a rigid pastor who holds to doctrine and piety with any real conviction?  No, really, don't we want every pastor to be more sensitive to what the folks in the pew think -- you know, the ones who are paying their salaries?

Maybe we could do the same for congregations.  Lets send a survey link after every Divine Service -- what did we do well, what could we improve, and, of course, did we meet your felt needs?  Sometimes I wonder if I am completely out of step with the times.  You go to the doctor and even if you die as a result of his treatment, he wants an online review, survey answered, and a rating given.  You visit the supermarket and they want to know how well they did.  Amazon and other online retailers pester you till the cows come home to get you to give them a number or so many stars.   We rate everything else, why not churches and pastors?

Then we could shop retail for a pastor and a congregation, on the basis of reviews, how many stars, services provided, and the cost.  No more messy business of doctrine, confession, and creed.  No, we have a higher criteria to use to judge the Church -- survey says....  I am saddened and sickened by the way we have surrendered to the power of the online presence.  Would you go to a church that had no online presence?  Would you call a pastor who did not have an online persona?  Sometimes I am downright glad that my time is winding down because I don't have the stomach or stamina to keep up with the evolving way we judge ourselves, our pastors, and one another. 

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