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By Elder Jerry Miller

Washington, IL

I would like to begin this article by saying that the following statements are not meant as an attack on our Missionary Baptist Churches, but rather, suggestions on how we can better our methods of calling our pastors.

This statement is often heard among our churches that are seeking a pastor: "Let's be sure we get the one that God wants." Indeed, this is what every church needs to do. However, the method that is often used hinders us from accomplishing this important goal.

Let us consider this office of pastor. We have offices in our churches that we have appointed such as clerk, treasurer, Sunday School Superintendent, etc., and though they are very important, the fact remains that these are church appointed offices. The office of Pastor, however, is one of divine appointment. Ephesians 4:11 tells us that: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" Not only is the office of Pastor of divine appointment, the individual minister that fills the office is also. Paul told the Ephesian elders to "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28) I contend therefore, that the man filling the office of pastor, must be the one that God has placed there, or he will not be able to properly feed them spiritually, which is his foremost duty.

So how does a church find this man? What method can be used to enable a church to single out that individual minister that God wants to place there? In John's Gospel, (16:7-13) Jesus told the church that when the comforter comes, that He would be unto us a guide, to guide the church into all truth. Jesus said repeatedly to the seven churches of Asia; "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches;" (Rev. 2:7) How can we obtain spiritual revelations from God through anything other than prayer? How can any church find the man that God want by any means other than effectual, fervent prayer? Can they find this man by appointing a pulpit committee to have preachers supply their pulpits until they find the one they best like to hear? The man that God chooses may not be the most gifted of speakers, Moses wasn't. (Ex. 4:10) Can a church simply search for who's available? The truth is, every qualified minister that is among our ranks is available.

I could go on and on with this type of questioning, but the simple truth is, that in order to find a Holy Spirit placed pastor, a church must be able to collectively, effectively, pray. Consider from Acts 1:16-26; when the church felt a need to find a replacement for Judas. Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, was appointed, as well as Matthias. Please pay close attention to their prayer "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen," Notice they did not ask God to show them which one they should choose, but asked God to show them which one He had chosen.

Churches, don't try to base your very important decision of calling  a pastor on anything but faith. If your church practices appointing a pulpit committee, that's fine, but let their activity be restricted to filling the pulpit. Don't have anyone trying to find out the feelings of any minister prior to the church calling him. If you use that method, what need do you have of faith? You are trying to find out who God has chosen, not how ministers feel. I have heard ministers testify that they had sworn they would never take a particular church and yet ended up going there. I have heard of other ministers that felt they would go, but when the church called they could not get approval from God to go. The only proper method is to pray, call that man that God chooses, and let him have the responsibility of dealing with that call.

In closing, I would like to say with all respect to my preacher brothers, don't weaken the need of our churches to exercise prayer and faith in calling a pastor, by telling them that you have a burden to be their pastor, or by making sure that somehow they find out how you feel. Please try to be discreet, so the church can properly operate. If you are the man that God has chosen, He is capable of letting them know without you interfering.