Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Emerging Interviews

Last night was the first devotional I have attended since I have been married. Actually I went to a summer devo once but it isn't the same as the ones during the school year. For those of you who don't know, these are devotionals every Monday night on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University. This is the campus ministry that I was involved in as a student for two years and then interned with them for another two years. Raiders for Christ as well as campus ministry in general have a special place in my heart.

The set up was the same. Light off with everyone standing and singing a mix of "old" and "new" praise songs. We probably sing for about 20 to 30 minutes straight (all acappella mind you) and then the speaker gets up and speaks for about the same amount of time. Following this we have prayer requests and then the rather unnecessarily long announcements. When all is said and done, we mingle and catch up with one another. All in all, it was a good time.

Last night, they had another speaker who is trying out for campus minister. So far, they have had 3 total guys come and speak, and have another 3 or 4 left to try out. He did a great job mixing in humor (showed quick wit when a disco sounding cell phone went off) and thought provoking stories that related to his overarching theme: people with a mission. I asked a friend of mine last night what he thought of this guy compared to the others. His reaction stated that the guy from last night was the best so far.

After devo, my wife and I went jogging near campus. Our conversation was geared mostly made on the interview process that churches practice. I have only been to two "ministry" interviews and both were different. Each included teaching a class as well as speaking at a devotional, meeting several students or people who will be involved in the ministry and a meeting of some sort with elders or the board of directors. Jennifer mentioned how difficult it is to base someone's 25 minutes devotional talk on their whole perspective of ministry and life in general. The search committee for a campus minister at MTSU doesn't have a student on it presently. I think this is absurd because those are the people that will be doing the nitty gritty on that campus. Sure you can have a charismatic speaker who can "wow" the crowd with cool powerpoint pictures and neat acronyms, but will does one know he or she will be truly connected to the vine? I guess no one can. I'm sure churches never knew or would have even imagined their ministers would commit adultery or theft when they hired them.

Since this new age is upon us and churches are looking to change with the cultural shift, I wonder how this will effect the process of interviewing in ministry positions. I wonder if churches would ask potential candidates to live with them for one week and allow them to do what they would if they were hired. Maybe they would ask those interested in the job, to travel to a monastery for two or three days after their interview process to contemplate their experience and the ministry at hand. After which they would report to the committee their experiences and thoughts. Maybe emerging churches might not even hire a staff and contain all lay-leaders. This is just from the top of my head, so I haven't put a lot of thought into the idea. Just thinking aloud.