Words of Joy – October 2015

Words of Joy

Interim Minister’s Column

As the Ministerial Search Committee collects information, through focus groups, the survey and one-to-one conversations, about the kind of leader the congregation wants for its next settled minister, an old reading about the search for a new minister popped into my head. I can’t resist sharing it.

So here is the reading, which I (with tongue firmly in cheek) dedicate to the hard-working Ministerial Search Committee as they pull together the variety of congregational comments on what you want in a minister:

Found! The Perfect Pastor
After hundreds of years of search, a model pastor has been found! He preaches for exactly 20 minutes and sits down. She condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
He works from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in every type of work from preaching to custodial service. She makes $60 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car and gives $100 a week to the church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good work that comes along.
He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. She is tall and short, thin and heavy-set. He has one brown eye, and one blue, and hair parted down the middle, left side dark and straight and the right brown and wavy.
She has a burning desire to work with the teenagers, and spends all her time with the older folks. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work. She makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all of her time evangelizing the unchurched, and is never out of her office.

This reading, in slightly different forms (I added the gender variety), can be found quoted on many internet sites, from many faiths, without attribution. I first saw it over 30 years ago, in those pre-internet days, circulating among UU newsletters, especially in congregations that were in search for a new minister at the time. It is still a poignant reminder that a minister, try as he/she might, can never be all things to all people. May you bear this in mind as you think about the ministerial qualities that you would like to see in your next settled minister.

Meanwhile, I’ve got to get back to my walking on water practice (don’t worry—I know where the rocks are!) Warmly, with a wink, Joy