Author Topic: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors  (Read 1696 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2022, 09:00:06 AM »
Congratulations on the 50th, Bishop. It is a significant date. Some of my classmates got together on our 50th and we all said pretty much the same thing, that is, we all thought we knew where we were headed in the ministry and how we would perform, and all of us were wrong about that. None of us properly predicted our path in the ordained ministry, and all of us were surprised at how we had ministered during those 50 years.
Furthermore, all of us were grateful for the ways in which we had grown, that is, changed, over the years and for the people who helped us do that.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

Dave Benke

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2022, 09:29:31 AM »
Congratulations on the 50th, Bishop. It is a significant date. Some of my classmates got together on our 50th and we all said pretty much the same thing, that is, we all thought we knew where we were headed in the ministry and how we would perform, and all of us were wrong about that. None of us properly predicted our path in the ordained ministry, and all of us were surprised at how we had ministered during those 50 years.
Furthermore, all of us were grateful for the ways in which we had grown, that is, changed, over the years and for the people who helped us do that.

Thanks, Charles!  I kept thinking of the many mentors who were given to me all along the way.  And having been given the privilege of continuing in active parish work, a key insight that folks talked to me about was to keep on being a mentor even in this later in life phase.  That's OK in many ways as long as it's not the mentoring toward doing what I did back in the 80s, or 90s, or whenever I have my golden year memories fixed. 

Dave Benke

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2022, 10:12:41 AM »
Congratulations on the 50th, Bishop. It is a significant date. Some of my classmates got together on our 50th and we all said pretty much the same thing, that is, we all thought we knew where we were headed in the ministry and how we would perform, and all of us were wrong about that. None of us properly predicted our path in the ordained ministry, and all of us were surprised at how we had ministered during those 50 years.
Furthermore, all of us were grateful for the ways in which we had grown, that is, changed, over the years and for the people who helped us do that.

Thanks, Charles!  I kept thinking of the many mentors who were given to me all along the way.  And having been given the privilege of continuing in active parish work, a key insight that folks talked to me about was to keep on being a mentor even in this later in life phase.  That's OK in many ways as long as it's not the mentoring toward doing what I did back in the 80s, or 90s, or whenever I have my golden year memories fixed. 

Dave Benke

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2022, 12:26:56 PM »
I'm not at the point of retirement, but we do have two vicars about to be ordained who will serve at St. Peter's in part-time capacity.  I'm happy with that kind of "succession" plan, because it comes from within, takes its time, and has potential for leaders to be developed in situ.


The ELCA has a TEEM ministry program (Theological Education for Emerging Ministries). This is designed for congregations to raise up one of its members as their spiritual leader. They receive seminary education while working at the congregation. They are ordained. They are on the roster of word and sacrament. They can be called to another congregation. Although, I believe, they are committed to stay at their sponsoring congregation for a set number of years. Two of the congregations I had served went the TEEM route. A member of the congregation ended up taking seminary courses and becoming their pastor.


I believe all of our seminaries offer such training. Here is a link to Wartburg's program. https://www.wartburgseminary.edu/teem/
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

DCharlton

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2022, 01:22:53 PM »
It often seems as if the celebrity centered mega church is a one-generation church.  Does anyone know of a celebrity mega-church that has made a successful transition after the celebrity pastor left office?  I can only think of times when it failed:  Such as the Crystal Cathedral, Coral Ridge Presbyterian, and the like. 
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Charles Austin

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2022, 02:44:11 PM »
No I don’t know of any “celebrity church“ that lasted after the big-name celebrities passed from the scene. For that matter, I have seen churches virtually fall apart when a long-term charismatic, big personality Pastor left.
And I know of one New Jersey congregation that was known in the community as “Pastor Miller’s church“ 12 years and two subsequent pastors after Miller died.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

Dave Benke

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2022, 04:10:23 PM »
No I don’t know of any “celebrity church“ that lasted after the big-name celebrities passed from the scene. For that matter, I have seen churches virtually fall apart when a long-term charismatic, big personality Pastor left.
And I know of one New Jersey congregation that was known in the community as “Pastor Miller’s church“ 12 years and two subsequent pastors after Miller died.

Yes - the Pastor Miller thought has occurred to me personally after all these decades.  Lots of love, to be sure, lots of joy and tons of relationships, but what's next for the congregation? 

In fact, when I came to St. Peter's back in the mid-70s, even though the successors had been top flight (one, Bob Reidel, became the President of the New England District, the other, George Kraus, went to the Fort Wayne Seminary), it was known as "Brunn's Church."  In fact, a pastor during those tumultuous times came up to me, and when I said I was at St. Peter's, asked "How is Doc Brunn these days?"  I responded, "He's at peace."  He had been dead since 1949.

I don't know about other parts of the country, but there were boatloads of long-term pastorates in the East among Missouri Synod clergy, 30-40-50 years.  Another Brunn held the record, also in Brooklyn - 58 years in the same congregation.   Yes.  He was well over 80.  And the only son of the congregation through those many years was ordained, and on that same day, Other Pastor Brunn and his wife left after the service for their cottage up north, and on the way the car left the road and they went to their Mansion in the Sky together.  Same day, after 58 years.  I was the circuit counselor (dean).  There were several iron rules - King James Version only.  Page 5 and 15 TLH only.  And whatever else Other Pastor Brunn had done - only. 

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DCharlton

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2022, 04:44:31 PM »
No I don’t know of any “celebrity church“ that lasted after the big-name celebrities passed from the scene. For that matter, I have seen churches virtually fall apart when a long-term charismatic, big personality Pastor left.
And I know of one New Jersey congregation that was known in the community as “Pastor Miller’s church“ 12 years and two subsequent pastors after Miller died.

I remember watching a program where Rick Warren and a Catholic priest were interviewed.  I remember that Rick Warren had spiked and highlighted hair.  He wore a Jimmy Buffet style shirt.  The Catholic priest wore a black clerical collar.  I can't remember what his name was. 

That's not a bad way to be remembered, as priest or the pastor who spoke the Word or administered the Sacraments.  Was it pastor A, B, C or D?  It doesn't matter as long as the Word was faithfully proclaimed and the Sacraments administered rightly.  I don't remember the name of the pastor who baptized me, but I know that it was on December 23, 1964, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2022, 04:46:30 PM by DCharlton »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2022, 05:28:37 PM »
Community Church of Joy, formerly one of the largest ELCA congregations, withdrew from the ELCA, (unrelated to that,) it is now Dream City - Glendale Campus; a huge multi-site Assembly of God church.

From Living Lutheran:
20 Largest ELCA congregations in 2012 [I believe that these are their average weekly worship attendance]

Hope, West Des Moines, Iowa 9,539
Mount Olivet, Minneapolis 6,000
Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Irving, Texas 4,500
Hope, Fargo, N.D. 3,258
St. Philip the Deacon, Plymouth, Minn. 1,968
Shepherd of the Valley, Apple Valley, Minn. 1,920
St. Andrew, Mahtomedi, Minn. 1,894
Bethlehem, Minneapolis 1,698
Lord of Life, Maple Grove, Minn. 1,483
Good Shepherd, Naperville, Ill. 1,475
Sheridan, Lincoln, Neb. 1,432
Our Savior of East Mesa, Mesa, Ariz. 1,418
Prince of Peace, Burnsville, Minn. 1,389
Mount Calvary, Excelsior, Minn. 1,375
Southwood, Lincoln, Neb. 1,345
Community, Las Vegas 1,258
Our Saviour, Naperville, Ill. 1,222
Good Shepherd, Madison, Wis. 1,216
St. Paul, Davenport, Iowa 1,195
Hope, The Villages, Fla. 1,183

Hope Lutheran in West Des Moines is fairly new, having been organized in 1994. The latest figures (2019): baptized members 19,220 average worship 13,021. They have 10 clergy, Mike Housholder, was the founding pastor and is still the lead pastor.

Mount Olivet, had been the largest congregation for many years. It was organized in 1920. Its latest figures has 15,212 baptized members. Its in house average worship is 2550. I don't know about the tradition of their pastoral leadership, but I'm certain it hasn't been the same one for the past 102 years.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2022, 05:50:26 PM »
Anyone who would transfer their membership to a congregation called Dream City-Glendale Campus is probably, well, whatever.

James_Gale

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2022, 09:10:26 PM »
Community Church of Joy, formerly one of the largest ELCA congregations, withdrew from the ELCA, (unrelated to that,) it is now Dream City - Glendale Campus; a huge multi-site Assembly of God church.

From Living Lutheran:
20 Largest ELCA congregations in 2012 [I believe that these are their average weekly worship attendance]

Hope, West Des Moines, Iowa 9,539
Mount Olivet, Minneapolis 6,000
Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Irving, Texas 4,500
Hope, Fargo, N.D. 3,258
St. Philip the Deacon, Plymouth, Minn. 1,968
Shepherd of the Valley, Apple Valley, Minn. 1,920
St. Andrew, Mahtomedi, Minn. 1,894
Bethlehem, Minneapolis 1,698
Lord of Life, Maple Grove, Minn. 1,483
Good Shepherd, Naperville, Ill. 1,475
Sheridan, Lincoln, Neb. 1,432
Our Savior of East Mesa, Mesa, Ariz. 1,418
Prince of Peace, Burnsville, Minn. 1,389
Mount Calvary, Excelsior, Minn. 1,375
Southwood, Lincoln, Neb. 1,345
Community, Las Vegas 1,258
Our Saviour, Naperville, Ill. 1,222
Good Shepherd, Madison, Wis. 1,216
St. Paul, Davenport, Iowa 1,195
Hope, The Villages, Fla. 1,183

Hope Lutheran in West Des Moines is fairly new, having been organized in 1994. The latest figures (2019): baptized members 19,220 average worship 13,021. They have 10 clergy, Mike Housholder, was the founding pastor and is still the lead pastor.

Mount Olivet, had been the largest congregation for many years. It was organized in 1920. Its latest figures has 15,212 baptized members. Its in house average worship is 2550. I don't know about the tradition of their pastoral leadership, but I'm certain it hasn't been the same one for the past 102 years.


Mt. Olivet was led by Pr. Reuben Youngdahl and then his son Paul from 1938-1911. After an interim term served by Dennis Johnson, John Hogenson became senior pastor. He tragically died of cancer shortly thereafter. Pr. David Lose, former president at the seminary in Philadelphia, succeeded John and remains the senior pastor. It was the original Augustans mega-church, in some
ways. But worship and music are pretty traditional. However, services are too short to accommodate communion at most services.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2022, 07:45:33 AM »
Rick Warren is a name well known inside and outside of Evangelical circles.  Like many 'successful' mega-church leaders he is also an author with numerous titles to his credit.  He has been popular with many church leaders, including those within the LCMS.

It is interesting, however, to see how they deal with the position of a pastor, and the implications for what we are doing even in our own places, large or small.  First, they don't see the placement of a new pastor as driven by a call.  It is succession.  Rick Warren, like an English monarch, is able to largely determine who follows him and takes over the family business.  Secondly, the scrutiny of would-be successors is greatly heightened in our era of scandalous revelations of past religious leaders (e.g. Bill Hybels, Mark Driscoll), something that could be kept largely 'in house' in past times.  I found it interesting that the church employed a professional outside search group to do a background check and then a follow-up review after allegations surfaced from a former staff member.  "The search company was provided video footage, emails, text records and interviews that Echo gathered in its own review of Wood’s actions. Echo had conducted its own interviews, as well..."

I wonder if this will be a sign of the future even for those of us in much different ecclesial backgrounds.  When I applied for a position as a law enforcement chaplain I was told that they would do a 'deep dive' into my social media.  Right now I'm not aware that our districts provide this extensive of a background search, although in some states/districts such as in Minnesota, I believe you do have to pass a sexual abuse background check with the government.   

Regarding succession vs. call: I don't think it is healthy to see a church as an organization branded by one man, which then has to make sure the one following is vetted as to qualifications to maintain the organization's unique identity.  I think it is helpful to know if a would-be senior pastor, for example, has had prior experience with larger churches.  But a congregation should be driven by scriptural guidelines and the mission given it by Christ, and understand its mission apart from the personality of the pastor.  We do not establish little kingdoms in our own honor, but we plant churches to baptize and catechize.  I hope that the Rick Warren 'method' is not widely prevalent in Lutheran circles, but would not be surprised if it is, given his popularity among some Lutheran clergy.

It is clear that we are all under a much more powerful microscope of inspection.  We live much more 'public' lives because of the internet and social media.  One good thing is that it is getting harder for those with dark pasts of abuse to effectively hide and keep operating under the radar as they might have in the past. 

Saddleback Church backs Rick Warren successor despite allegations
Questions have been raised about the leadership style of Andy Wood, pastor of Echo Church in San Francisco, days after he was announced as Warren's successor.

https://religionnews.com/2022/06/12/saddleback-backs-rick-warren-successor-despite-allegations-andy-wood-echo-church/?fbclid=IwAR0cI2RB7w-UllQhs8sF_2K3Bz42TeTL8yzV952D1N5oCEnVn8mv892tuzA

Christianity Today is focusing on women serving as pastors as a key issue at Saddleback.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/june/saddleback-women-pastor-southern-baptist-bfm-rick-warren.html
I serve as administrator for www.churchhistoryreview.org.

Dave Benke

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2022, 09:26:55 AM »
Rick Warren is a name well known inside and outside of Evangelical circles.  Like many 'successful' mega-church leaders he is also an author with numerous titles to his credit.  He has been popular with many church leaders, including those within the LCMS.

It is interesting, however, to see how they deal with the position of a pastor, and the implications for what we are doing even in our own places, large or small.  First, they don't see the placement of a new pastor as driven by a call.  It is succession.  Rick Warren, like an English monarch, is able to largely determine who follows him and takes over the family business.  Secondly, the scrutiny of would-be successors is greatly heightened in our era of scandalous revelations of past religious leaders (e.g. Bill Hybels, Mark Driscoll), something that could be kept largely 'in house' in past times.  I found it interesting that the church employed a professional outside search group to do a background check and then a follow-up review after allegations surfaced from a former staff member.  "The search company was provided video footage, emails, text records and interviews that Echo gathered in its own review of Wood’s actions. Echo had conducted its own interviews, as well..."

I wonder if this will be a sign of the future even for those of us in much different ecclesial backgrounds.  When I applied for a position as a law enforcement chaplain I was told that they would do a 'deep dive' into my social media.  Right now I'm not aware that our districts provide this extensive of a background search, although in some states/districts such as in Minnesota, I believe you do have to pass a sexual abuse background check with the government.   

Regarding succession vs. call: I don't think it is healthy to see a church as an organization branded by one man, which then has to make sure the one following is vetted as to qualifications to maintain the organization's unique identity.  I think it is helpful to know if a would-be senior pastor, for example, has had prior experience with larger churches.  But a congregation should be driven by scriptural guidelines and the mission given it by Christ, and understand its mission apart from the personality of the pastor.  We do not establish little kingdoms in our own honor, but we plant churches to baptize and catechize.  I hope that the Rick Warren 'method' is not widely prevalent in Lutheran circles, but would not be surprised if it is, given his popularity among some Lutheran clergy.

It is clear that we are all under a much more powerful microscope of inspection.  We live much more 'public' lives because of the internet and social media.  One good thing is that it is getting harder for those with dark pasts of abuse to effectively hide and keep operating under the radar as they might have in the past. 

Saddleback Church backs Rick Warren successor despite allegations
Questions have been raised about the leadership style of Andy Wood, pastor of Echo Church in San Francisco, days after he was announced as Warren's successor.

https://religionnews.com/2022/06/12/saddleback-backs-rick-warren-successor-despite-allegations-andy-wood-echo-church/?fbclid=IwAR0cI2RB7w-UllQhs8sF_2K3Bz42TeTL8yzV952D1N5oCEnVn8mv892tuzA

Christianity Today is focusing on women serving as pastors as a key issue at Saddleback.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/june/saddleback-women-pastor-southern-baptist-bfm-rick-warren.html

This quote from Rick Warren was of interest to me:  When he spoke from the convention floor hours later, Warren did not defend Saddleback or debate the intricacies of the faith statement.
“I could talk to you all about what I believe about the gift of pastorate as opposed to the office of pastorate, but I’m not here to talk about that,” he said, and went on to speak of his gratitude to the convention, including for the autonomy it affords local churches.

First, the fracas swirls around the issue of congregational autonomy and adherence to denominational rules and regulations.  Remind you of any denomination you know, LCMS folks?  What eventuates, we could tell the SBC, when you take your mission and ministry statements and codify them, is the glorification of the bylaws, meaning the devil is found in the details.  Those who want "the main thing to be the main thing" and the historic mission outreach efforts of SBC to remain the focus are headed for a tumble if and as the bylaw people win the day, because then they become the "main thing."

Second, Warren enters the realm of spiritual giftedness in discussing the role of women as pastors.  And the Pauline conversations about spiritual gifts do include "pastor/teacher" among those gifts.  In my experience, there have been many, many women who have the spiritual gift of care-giving, soul-curing, prayer and teaching in what presents itself as a shepherding or pastoral way.   I think it's a fine topic for conversation, even as the NT prophetesses were speaking the faith publicly. 

Dave Benke

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2022, 09:44:20 AM »
Rick Warren is a name well known inside and outside of Evangelical circles.  Like many 'successful' mega-church leaders he is also an author with numerous titles to his credit.  He has been popular with many church leaders, including those within the LCMS.

It is interesting, however, to see how they deal with the position of a pastor, and the implications for what we are doing even in our own places, large or small.  First, they don't see the placement of a new pastor as driven by a call.  It is succession.  Rick Warren, like an English monarch, is able to largely determine who follows him and takes over the family business.  Secondly, the scrutiny of would-be successors is greatly heightened in our era of scandalous revelations of past religious leaders (e.g. Bill Hybels, Mark Driscoll), something that could be kept largely 'in house' in past times.  I found it interesting that the church employed a professional outside search group to do a background check and then a follow-up review after allegations surfaced from a former staff member.  "The search company was provided video footage, emails, text records and interviews that Echo gathered in its own review of Wood’s actions. Echo had conducted its own interviews, as well..."

I wonder if this will be a sign of the future even for those of us in much different ecclesial backgrounds.  When I applied for a position as a law enforcement chaplain I was told that they would do a 'deep dive' into my social media.  Right now I'm not aware that our districts provide this extensive of a background search, although in some states/districts such as in Minnesota, I believe you do have to pass a sexual abuse background check with the government.   

Regarding succession vs. call: I don't think it is healthy to see a church as an organization branded by one man, which then has to make sure the one following is vetted as to qualifications to maintain the organization's unique identity.  I think it is helpful to know if a would-be senior pastor, for example, has had prior experience with larger churches.  But a congregation should be driven by scriptural guidelines and the mission given it by Christ, and understand its mission apart from the personality of the pastor.  We do not establish little kingdoms in our own honor, but we plant churches to baptize and catechize.  I hope that the Rick Warren 'method' is not widely prevalent in Lutheran circles, but would not be surprised if it is, given his popularity among some Lutheran clergy.

It is clear that we are all under a much more powerful microscope of inspection.  We live much more 'public' lives because of the internet and social media.  One good thing is that it is getting harder for those with dark pasts of abuse to effectively hide and keep operating under the radar as they might have in the past. 

Saddleback Church backs Rick Warren successor despite allegations
Questions have been raised about the leadership style of Andy Wood, pastor of Echo Church in San Francisco, days after he was announced as Warren's successor.

https://religionnews.com/2022/06/12/saddleback-backs-rick-warren-successor-despite-allegations-andy-wood-echo-church/?fbclid=IwAR0cI2RB7w-UllQhs8sF_2K3Bz42TeTL8yzV952D1N5oCEnVn8mv892tuzA

Christianity Today is focusing on women serving as pastors as a key issue at Saddleback.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/june/saddleback-women-pastor-southern-baptist-bfm-rick-warren.html

This quote from Rick Warren was of interest to me:  When he spoke from the convention floor hours later, Warren did not defend Saddleback or debate the intricacies of the faith statement.
“I could talk to you all about what I believe about the gift of pastorate as opposed to the office of pastorate, but I’m not here to talk about that,” he said, and went on to speak of his gratitude to the convention, including for the autonomy it affords local churches.

First, the fracas swirls around the issue of congregational autonomy and adherence to denominational rules and regulations.  Remind you of any denomination you know, LCMS folks?  What eventuates, we could tell the SBC, when you take your mission and ministry statements and codify them, is the glorification of the bylaws, meaning the devil is found in the details.  Those who want "the main thing to be the main thing" and the historic mission outreach efforts of SBC to remain the focus are headed for a tumble if and as the bylaw people win the day, because then they become the "main thing."

Second, Warren enters the realm of spiritual giftedness in discussing the role of women as pastors.  And the Pauline conversations about spiritual gifts do include "pastor/teacher" among those gifts.  In my experience, there have been many, many women who have the spiritual gift of care-giving, soul-curing, prayer and teaching in what presents itself as a shepherding or pastoral way.   I think it's a fine topic for conversation, even as the NT prophetesses were speaking the faith publicly. 

Dave Benke
Gosh, I wonder whether that conversation has already been had ad nauseum anywhere. 

Dave Benke

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Re: Succession, Calls, and Vetting of Would-be Pastors
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2022, 10:15:37 AM »
Rick Warren is a name well known inside and outside of Evangelical circles.  Like many 'successful' mega-church leaders he is also an author with numerous titles to his credit.  He has been popular with many church leaders, including those within the LCMS.

It is interesting, however, to see how they deal with the position of a pastor, and the implications for what we are doing even in our own places, large or small.  First, they don't see the placement of a new pastor as driven by a call.  It is succession.  Rick Warren, like an English monarch, is able to largely determine who follows him and takes over the family business.  Secondly, the scrutiny of would-be successors is greatly heightened in our era of scandalous revelations of past religious leaders (e.g. Bill Hybels, Mark Driscoll), something that could be kept largely 'in house' in past times.  I found it interesting that the church employed a professional outside search group to do a background check and then a follow-up review after allegations surfaced from a former staff member.  "The search company was provided video footage, emails, text records and interviews that Echo gathered in its own review of Wood’s actions. Echo had conducted its own interviews, as well..."

I wonder if this will be a sign of the future even for those of us in much different ecclesial backgrounds.  When I applied for a position as a law enforcement chaplain I was told that they would do a 'deep dive' into my social media.  Right now I'm not aware that our districts provide this extensive of a background search, although in some states/districts such as in Minnesota, I believe you do have to pass a sexual abuse background check with the government.   

Regarding succession vs. call: I don't think it is healthy to see a church as an organization branded by one man, which then has to make sure the one following is vetted as to qualifications to maintain the organization's unique identity.  I think it is helpful to know if a would-be senior pastor, for example, has had prior experience with larger churches.  But a congregation should be driven by scriptural guidelines and the mission given it by Christ, and understand its mission apart from the personality of the pastor.  We do not establish little kingdoms in our own honor, but we plant churches to baptize and catechize.  I hope that the Rick Warren 'method' is not widely prevalent in Lutheran circles, but would not be surprised if it is, given his popularity among some Lutheran clergy.

It is clear that we are all under a much more powerful microscope of inspection.  We live much more 'public' lives because of the internet and social media.  One good thing is that it is getting harder for those with dark pasts of abuse to effectively hide and keep operating under the radar as they might have in the past. 

Saddleback Church backs Rick Warren successor despite allegations
Questions have been raised about the leadership style of Andy Wood, pastor of Echo Church in San Francisco, days after he was announced as Warren's successor.

https://religionnews.com/2022/06/12/saddleback-backs-rick-warren-successor-despite-allegations-andy-wood-echo-church/?fbclid=IwAR0cI2RB7w-UllQhs8sF_2K3Bz42TeTL8yzV952D1N5oCEnVn8mv892tuzA

Christianity Today is focusing on women serving as pastors as a key issue at Saddleback.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/june/saddleback-women-pastor-southern-baptist-bfm-rick-warren.html

This quote from Rick Warren was of interest to me:  When he spoke from the convention floor hours later, Warren did not defend Saddleback or debate the intricacies of the faith statement.
“I could talk to you all about what I believe about the gift of pastorate as opposed to the office of pastorate, but I’m not here to talk about that,” he said, and went on to speak of his gratitude to the convention, including for the autonomy it affords local churches.

First, the fracas swirls around the issue of congregational autonomy and adherence to denominational rules and regulations.  Remind you of any denomination you know, LCMS folks?  What eventuates, we could tell the SBC, when you take your mission and ministry statements and codify them, is the glorification of the bylaws, meaning the devil is found in the details.  Those who want "the main thing to be the main thing" and the historic mission outreach efforts of SBC to remain the focus are headed for a tumble if and as the bylaw people win the day, because then they become the "main thing."

Second, Warren enters the realm of spiritual giftedness in discussing the role of women as pastors.  And the Pauline conversations about spiritual gifts do include "pastor/teacher" among those gifts.  In my experience, there have been many, many women who have the spiritual gift of care-giving, soul-curing, prayer and teaching in what presents itself as a shepherding or pastoral way.   I think it's a fine topic for conversation, even as the NT prophetesses were speaking the faith publicly. 

Dave Benke
Gosh, I wonder whether that conversation has already been had ad nauseum anywhere.

Ha!  I have not heard or read the word "gosh" in a long time. 

The conversation I'm actually talking about in this post is the one that it seems like Rick Warren wants to happen in the SBC and among Baptists.  In the Missouri Synod, the hard conversation is whether a woman can read a Scripture lesson in church.  I know the Baptist congregations here, especially the large to giant sized ones, have many women serving in pastoral roles.  Here's the bio of a woman pastor whom I knew along the way whom I have heard deliver a Gospel message of power and persuasion and who also was very active in neighborhood outreach to the poor of lower Manhattan on a daily basis:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzan_Johnson_Cook

Dave Benke