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No Church Elects a Pastor

Coming into a place, many young pastors come in as if people ought to act as if they’ve known them for years. And no church elects a pastor. Churches elect ministers, and that’s a noble cause. But “pastor” has the suggestion of “shepherd,” and that has a suggestion of reliance and confidence on both sides, and that takes time. You cannot rush that. I don’t care who the person is. You have to grow into being a pastor. The mistake we preachers make is to want people to accept us as pastors from the first day in the sense of being pastor and wanting to bypass that apprenticeship, and it can’t be done.

Nobody -- I’ve told ministers this -- you walk along the sidewalk, nobody will turn himself or herself over to a stranger. You may be friendly and congenial, but there is a bit of a question if you’re not sure about the person. I know two or three churches in this country today going through a great trial because the pastor has not been there any length of time, and they want to act as if they are pastors, and they are not.

Of course, there are two sides to this, too. A minister has to work to become a pastor and people have to work toward seeing that minister as pastor. It’s a two-way street.

- Gardner C. Taylor, interviewed on FaithAndLeadership.com, February 24, 2009