The Search Goes On

A congregation I know of went preacher hunting and quickly narrowed the field to four. The first candidate was a great communicator. His sermons bespoke his impressive arsenal of anecdotes and his thorough knowledge of C. S. Lewis—a big plus. But he rarely gave altar calls, which made the choosing committee suspicious. Besides, he was handicapped: he had all his arms and legs, but he didn’t have a wife.

Candidate number two appeared stronger. He was very married, even had four kids. He, too, was an impressive speaker, but in contrast to number one, he was addicted to altar calls. The committee felt that every other week was a little too often for parishioners to question their salvation or to rededicate their lives yet another time. Besides, there was a vacancy on the softball team, and he said he didn’t play.

Number three was also a family man and an effective speaker. His altar calls were appropriately inspirational and well spaced. But it wasn’t his preaching that concerned the committee. It seemed he spent a good deal of time researching political issues and sending off letters to congressmen. When the committee found out the guy had once been on a hunger strike, his fate was sealed.

That brings us to number four, a smart-looking middle-aged man with a beautiful wife and kids. He was a lucid communicator and had the right balance between evangelism and social service. He was sincere and active in his community, but he wasn’t bent on carrying out an agenda of social or political programs. He even played softball; he played infield or outfield, and hit. 350 on his last church’s team. In short, this guy was their perfect preacher. But, alas, that congregation is still looking. ...

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