UMC vs GMC: How will churches get their pastors?

The title here is a little misleading. I’m not discussing the appointment process, and I’m not discussing the differences between the two denominations. I believe both denominations will face similar challenges in recruiting pastors to replace the wave of Boomers that are retiring.

I’m an accountant and have only once successfully recruited a pastor. I instead spoke with Roger Spahr, retired UMC pastor and former District Superintendent in the Dakotas. Recruiting pastors has been one of the highlights of Roger’s career. He shares a number of valuable insights in the interview in this week’s video.

As just a taste of the interview, I’ll share with you what Roger looked for in a potential pastor. He wanted to find someone that lifts up the church and lifts up the work of the Kingdom of God. Here is the definition of a LIFTS pastor:

  • Leadership: A position or a title doesn’t make a person into a leader. John Maxwell defines Leadership as Influence. A potential pastor will be influencing the people around them to join in Kingdom work.
  • Integrity: The potential pastor will be a person of character similar to what the Apostle Paul described for the qualifications of an Elder. This is the most difficult one to assess. While psychological exams may help, many of our flaws are hidden from others and even ourselves.
  • Fire in the Belly: A potential pastor will have a strong passion for the Gospel. They will be obsessed with connecting people to Jesus and seeing them grow in faith.
  • Theological Compatibility: With whatever denomination the pastor serves, they should share the core doctrines and distinctives of that denomination. I’ve always thought of it this way. If I was to hire a manager for McDonald’s, I wouldn’t want someone who prefers Whoppers to Big Macs.
  • Skills: This is probably the one to worry about the least. Most people, if they are teachable, they will grow over time in their preaching, counseling, administration, and etc.

Finding and recruiting the next generation of Spirit-led, LIFTS pastors will be the great challenge we face in the US church. I’m grateful for people like Roger that have a passion and calling for this line of work.

Useful Links

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: