Who hasn’t ridden with kids in the car on a long journey? You may not have children yet, but you were a child once upon a time. Every kid asks or is tempted to ask, “Are we there yet?”
As a dad, church bus driver, and husband, my most common response to this question is, “Five more minutes.” We are close, but just not close enough to our destination or pit stop.
Sharon and I are remodeling our home. I call it the House of 10,000 Projects (Not the Money Pit). It seems every week Sharon (or sometimes yours truly) watches another episode of HGTV. Then, a current project morphs into a different color, design, or some kind of wall covering. At the same time, Sharon is asking when do we move our furniture from the garage to the rooms that are almost, but not yet, finished. So, I must be the bad guy and remind her, or she has to remind me, that “it’s not ready yet.”
I was reviewing materials and MBC governing documents for an Executive Director Search Team orientation and came across language that said Search Team members must receive recommendations, pray over them, have lengthy conversations over the candidates, prioritize the candidates, and then select who is on the short list to go forward with deeper vetting.
Sometimes, this is a tedious process. As a Search Team, the mission is to come to a unanimous conclusion about who is God’s man for the role. Church leadership roles are not simply corporate conclusions. There is no competition here, nor is there room for political caucusing. What you’re seeking is a unanimous conclusion about one candidate to call. If Search Team members don’t arrive at that place together, they are not ready yet to extend the call to a candidate for leadership of a church or ministry.
Church ministries from our Baptist tradition do not hire leaders. They extend the call. The call is the work of God in the Search Team, the church/ministry, and the candidate. Senior pastors, state-convention executive directors, and the presidents of other ministries are worthy of taking all the time necessary to get this right. One of the roles of churches, trustees, and messengers is to avoid pressure on the Search Team until they have completed their work, which is evidenced by a unanimous decision.
If the Search Team presents a candidate without a unanimous call, the process is simply not ready yet. Something is missing. The Lord isn’t finished with the individual Search Team members yet.
But what if there is a contrarian on the Search Team? There usually is. And as a consultant to Search Teams on more than one occasion, I have watched God change the heart of that person, or persons. Will we not give God space to work in the room? Or will we take a poll among the Search Team, and he who gets the most votes releases the white smoke from the chimney?
Search Teams, it’s better to fast, pray, and seek God’s face than to blunder into a bad or weak decision. It’s okay to say, “The search process is not ready yet.”
VBS, Camps and Mission Trips
Summer activity is about to burst like sun rays do through the horizon. The opportunity exists for loads of fun and gospel conversations. Churches engaged in significant ministries with minors need to prepare with training to make our church ministries safe. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Criminal background checks are vitally necessary. And the more eyes that can see sexual predators and their grooming techniques, the safer the minors are. Don’t waste another day. Here are some helpful places to find great training for all childcare workers and parents of children:
Ministry Safe is used by more churches in Missouri than any other for prevention of sexual abuse. Greg Love is an engaging trainer and can be contacted at www.MinistrySafe.com/MBC. To acquire discounts for video resources, let them know you are a Missouri Baptist church/association.
Stewards of Children is a Cooperative Program supported ministry through the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home. Do the adults in your church know and practice the five steps to keeping kids safe? MBCH is a significant comprehensive ministry to children and youth and sexually trafficked people. Call the Sex Abuse Information line at 314.785.9889.
Caring Well is a Cooperative Program-supported resource from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Not only is this practical resource suitable to the protection of children; it offers incredible information on helping adults traumatized by abuse.