Question:

I was wondering if I could get your advice on selecting a pulpit minister.

Our minister step down due to fleshly and worldly desires, like Demas "having loved this present world." We have an interim minister at this time. We have other ministers who sent resumes but didn't have a chance to hear them because we didn't know how it would affect the congregation by having so many different ministers preaching every other Sunday. Was that right? In addition to that, we wanted the church to continue to grow spiritually and over come the circumstances we had to face. And we deal with this matter according to the doctrine of Christ.

The minister we have is young, in his thirties, educated at a Christian college, energetic, spiritually sound, preaches the Gospel, but he is not a well-seasoned preacher. He doesn't rebuke sin all the time, and I'm not please with that.

Do you think we should give the other an opportunity to minister because everybody likes him, or what do you suggest? His interim ends in March. I would love to hear your advice and share the information with others.


Answer:

I'm sorry to hear that your congregation had to face the difficulty of having a preacher who got caught up in sin.

I'm not one who subscribes to the artificial division of a preacher's labor. You don't find in the Bible mention of a pulpit minister, lay minister, prison minister, or youth minister. The early church only knew of preachers (or evangelist or minister) who did all the duties of a preacher. (See "Preachers" for more information.) A congregation may have more than one man in their area sharing the workload and such situations are often beneficial to both the congregation and to those preaching. For example, I know several congregations who have both an older, well-seasoned preacher and a younger preacher who is still learning the ropes. This gives the younger preacher more on-the-job training and an older preacher to keep things in line with the Scriptures and to deal with more complex problems.

Whether you continue with your current preacher, knowing he will grow into the job, or decide to add another preacher to help with the work, or decide to replace the current preacher with another is a question only the congregation can address. I know far too little regarding your situation to be in a position to advise you.

When a congregation looks for a preacher, I don't recommend having several trying for the position at the same time. What you end up with is people selecting a preacher based on personal preferences instead of biblical principles. One like preacher A because he is younger, another wants preacher B because he dresses well, etc. The focus should be on a man's abilities to teach the gospel clearly and accurately. So a man should be asked to come for a short period of time so members can meet him in a variety of settings. Have him speak, teach classes, and visit with members. Talk about doctrinal issues and ask how he might address problems the congregation is facing. Check out his references and talk to members of other congregations where he preached. Then have a meeting to decide if this man is suitable to the congregations needs. If not, invite another man to come and repeat the process. Eventually the group will find someone suitable without making it a popularity contest between capable men.