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Regional Impact on Church

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  • Regional Impact on Church

    Over in Civics in a thread, there was a discussion of how different versions of a church denomination can differ on how conservative they are. The group being discussed was the Lutherans: ELCA, LCMS, etc. Not wanting to seriously derail the thread and wanting to keep the discussion "in-house", I'm starting this topic.

    I think we lose the impact of the region the church is in as it affects how liberal <--> conservative it is. I'm in the Northeast and went to a LCMS church for a year. It certainly wasn't conservative in preaching or teaching. Yeah, the pastors were all male but that was it for being conservative. I've had anecdotal reports from people that have moved in to the area that say yes there is a real difference in how church is viewed and works here as compared to other parts of the county.

    I submit that where you are in the country has more impact on how your church stands on issues than what denomination or non-denomination you're a part of.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

  • #2
    First, thanks for starting a thread that doesn't immediately provoke a fight.
    (Though I would not be surprised if a fight would break out - it's Tweb)

    Second, how are Lutheran pastors selected? Does the congregation have any say? Are they "appointed" from "on high"?
    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
      First, thanks for starting a thread that doesn't immediately provoke a fight.
      (Though I would not be surprised if a fight would break out - it's Tweb)

      Second, how are Lutheran pastors selected? Does the congregation have any say? Are they "appointed" from "on high"?
      Regarding your first sentence, that's why I started the thread over in the "saner" section of Tweb.

      Second, don't know. Wasn't around for a pastor selection. I do know selecting the current pastor at the LCMS I attended took awhile - my impression is it took longer than normal.
      Last edited by Thoughtful Monk; 09-20-2021, 10:00 AM. Reason: Fixed grammer
      "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

      "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

        Regarding your first sentence, that's why I started the thread over in the "saner" section of Tweb.

        Second, don't know. Wasn't around for a pastor selection. I do know selecting the current pastor at the LCMS I attended took awhile - my impression is it took longer than normal.
        Well, I know that in Baptist churches, the church elects its own "pastor search committee", and that would most definitely result in a 'regional impact' on the makeup of the search committee itself, which would impact the selection, and the resulting selection (the pastor selected by the committee) would impact the Church.

        I believe, however, that there are "rostered ministers" available for selection by Lutherans, and a bishop or somebody actually guides the process.
        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

        Comment


        • #5
          Back when I was in PC(USA) there was a search committee with guidance from a pastor from another church. One time, the committee selected a woman pastor and the guiding pastor a few months later got a job at corporate HQ. Incidentally, the woman pastor didn't work out very well and was probably a large factor in the church split after about 4 or 5 years of her being there.
          "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

          "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

            Well, I know that in Baptist churches, the church elects its own "pastor search committee", and that would most definitely result in a 'regional impact' on the makeup of the search committee itself, which would impact the selection, and the resulting selection (the pastor selected by the committee) would impact the Church.
            Anglicans here work on the selection committee principle - They choose from applicants in the ordained priesthood, and the bishop does have power of veto (though I've never heard of it being exercised.) There was one congregation messed around for two years, after which the Archbishop told them, "choose a priest within three months, or I do."

            I believe, however, that there are "rostered ministers" available for selection by Lutherans, and a bishop or somebody actually guides the process.
            As I remember it, that is how it works here. Tenure automatically expires after 3 years (also as I remember it.)
            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
              Back when I was in PC(USA) there was a search committee with guidance from a pastor from another church. One time, the committee selected a woman pastor and the guiding pastor a few months later got a job at corporate HQ. Incidentally, the woman pastor didn't work out very well and was probably a large factor in the church split after about 4 or 5 years of her being there.
              I have often assisted other churches in their pastor search committee process --- how to establish a committee, how to determine what they're looking for in a pastor, etc...

              In a healthy church, the retiring (or leaving) pastor will work with the committee to set up the structure, but will not interfere in the "who is actually selected" part.
              The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                Anglicans here work on the selection committee principle - They choose from applicants in the ordained priesthood, and the bishop does have power of veto (though I've never heard of it being exercised.) There was one congregation messed around for two years, after which the Archbishop told them, "choose a priest within three months, or I do."



                As I remember it, that is how it works here. Tenure automatically expires after 3 years (also as I remember it.)
                I've had several Methodist pastor friends, but I don't bother getting to know them very well because of what we call "The Methodist Shuffle". Around these parts, a Methodist minister pastors a church for a brief time - usually 2 or 3 years, then is "shuffled off" to another church.

                It really doesn't allow much time for the shepherd and sheep to get to know each other.
                The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                  I've had several Methodist pastor friends, but I don't bother getting to know them very well because of what we call "The Methodist Shuffle". Around these parts, a Methodist minister pastors a church for a brief time - usually 2 or 3 years, then is "shuffled off" to another church.

                  It really doesn't allow much time for the shepherd and sheep to get to know each other.
                  I've been arguing with a couple of members of the Anglican hierarchy for a few years now that the local congregations should be drawing their pastors from among their own number and keeping them but it must be admitted that the congregation I mentioned earlier is a good counter-argument: and not only from their point of view.
                  sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                    I've been arguing with a couple of members of the Anglican hierarchy for a few years now that the local congregations should be drawing their pastors from among their own number and keeping them but it must be admitted that the congregation I mentioned earlier is a good counter-argument: and not only from their point of view.
                    Unfortunately, when the congregation elects its own "pastor search committee", the committee often writes up a "qualifications for the pastor we want" that would exclude Jesus and all His disciples, and Paul and others.
                    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                      Unfortunately, when the congregation elects its own "pastor search committee", the committee often writes up a "qualifications for the pastor we want" that would exclude Jesus and all His disciples, and Paul and others.
                      So true
                      sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think I'm reading a general consensus that when the congregation has influence on or selects the pastor, the pastor is going to reflect the beliefs on the congregation.

                        So liberal congregations will select liberal pastors and conservative congregations will select conservative pastors.

                        While the following depends on how well the congregation has been discipled in the past, generally speaking congregations in a liberal region will remain liberal because they will select a pastor in their own image. Conservative congregations will behave in a similar manner. So over time, a congregation will become a reflection of the society it lives in.

                        Sound about right or am I missing something?
                        "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                        "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
                          I think I'm reading a general consensus that when the congregation has influence on or selects the pastor, the pastor is going to reflect the beliefs on the congregation.
                          That certainly sounds reasonable. A conservative congregation, for example, will be very unlikely to call (or even look at) a woman as pastor.

                          So liberal congregations will select liberal pastors and conservative congregations will select conservative pastors.
                          Seems true enough.

                          While the following depends on how well the congregation has been discipled in the past, generally speaking congregations in a liberal region will remain liberal because they will select a pastor in their own image. Conservative congregations will behave in a similar manner. So over time, a congregation will become a reflection of the society it lives in.

                          Sound about right or am I missing something?
                          Kind of a form of congregational confirmation bias, eh?

                          The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                            That certainly sounds reasonable. A conservative congregation, for example, will be very unlikely to call (or even look at) a woman as pastor.

                            Seems true enough.

                            Kind of a form of congregational confirmation bias, eh?
                            Hmmm...so where does this leave us?

                            It does seem that we're agreeing that over time, a congregation's views will tend to become the same as society. So finding a church that is different from society of the area where you live will become increasingly harder. It does tell me that who the leadership (after the pastor) is in the church is. Their views may be more indicative of where the church is heading than the pastor.

                            I think this would remain true in churches where the pastor selects their successor. He will tend to select someone in his image or from his family.

                            So for me being a conservative in a deeply liberal region indicates I am going to have trouble finding a conservative church. Even those churches in a conservative denomination are going to tend to water down their views to be acceptable to the region they live in. And I'm sure the reserve holds for liberals in deeply conservative regions.

                            But all this does ignore the bigger point. Is this really how Jesus wants his church to function?
                            "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                            "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
                              Hmmm...so where does this leave us?
                              Well, we're still talking, and we haven't resorted to beating one another about the head and shoulders with baseball bats.

                              It does seem that we're agreeing that over time, a congregation's views will tend to become the same as society. So finding a church that is different from society of the area where you live will become increasingly harder. It does tell me that who the leadership (after the pastor) is in the church is. Their views may be more indicative of where the church is heading than the pastor.
                              So, I think you can tell a lot about the Church by the tone the pastor sets - mainly on Sunday morning.
                              Does he preach the word, or just tell stories?
                              Does he preach expository sermons, or topical sermons for which he rounds up a bunch of out-of-context verses for support?
                              Does he seem to have a balance of "preaching truth" but with compassion for the lost, like Jesus had?

                              I think this would remain true in churches where the pastor selects their successor. He will tend to select someone in his image or from his family.
                              Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but, yeah, could be a problem.

                              So for me being a conservative in a deeply liberal region indicates I am going to have trouble finding a conservative church. Even those churches in a conservative denomination are going to tend to water down their views to be acceptable to the region they live in. And I'm sure the reserve holds for liberals in deeply conservative regions.

                              But all this does ignore the bigger point. Is this really how Jesus wants his church to function?
                              And therein likes the challenge -- finding a church that preaches the Truth, but in a manner that encourages redemption?

                              The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                              Comment

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