An idea for healthy churches

Create a full-time paid role on your staff team for an Assistant Pastor with the following description:
  • The term of his employment would be limited to 2 or 3 years.
  • Employment requirements would be
    • that he has completed an M.Div. or M.A. in Theology with courses in Greek and Hebrew, and
    • that he is ordained or eligible for ordination within his stated term.
  • Scope of Ministry would be general, to include
    • Semi-regular preaching (Sunday nights or Wednesdays, at least twice per month)
    • Pastoral care and visitation
    • Oversight of one teaching ministry or an aspect of a ministry
    • At least biweekly discipleship meetings with the Senior Pastor
The purpose of this ministry would be to continue and finish the work of the Seminaries. Seminaries are institutions to which churches delegate the academic preparation for pastoral ministry. But the seminaries cannot by themselves make ministers. A minister working under these terms would be working in full time ministry, observing and participating in a broad spectrum of ministries, and networking with the senior pastor and other association ministers for future placement.

Instituting a ministry role like this would benefit your church and it would benefit the work of the convention1. First, it would shift your church's vision from local to global. Every few years, your church will send out a minister, in whom you have confidence, with blessing and approval to plant a new church, to serve an existing church, or to work as a missionary. Your example of generosity with human resources would contribute to a culture of going and sending that would serve members of your church who may themselves be discerning a call to missions or ministry. You would also benefit the denomination by serving seminary students and graduates who are currently facing an unfriendly employment landscape. You will even play a part in helping the convention by providing it with a corps of faithful and well-prepared ministers.


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NOTES:
  1. My denominational context is the Southern Baptist Convention, but the principle is applicable for all evangelical churches.

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