Jump directly to the Content

How to Win at Parish Poker

Pastoral credibility can be parlayed into great gains ... or squandered.
How to Win at Parish Poker

Like poker, pastoring is an exercise that combines skill and providence to sort out winners and losers, often with frighteningly high stakes.

Your Initial Stake

Just a desire to play and win never got anyone a seat at a poker table. A poker player needs chips to enter the game—a stake. When a new pastor is called to a church, a pile of chips is normally stacked up for use as the pastor chooses. They represent the good favor and support of the church people. They may be saved for a rainy day or risked in the first hand of play.

Many complex factors contribute to the number of invisible chips provided the new pastor. If the vote to call was 99 percent affirmative, it's usually good for ninety-nine chips. However, a squeaker vote of exactly 66 2/3 percent is seldom worth more than twenty-five chips. There is already a built-in doubt about the new pastor's ability to lead the congregation.

Even here lie some subtleties only the most experienced players recognize:

The reason is more ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Charisma and Its Companions
Charisma and Its Companions
Church movements need magnetic leaders. But the best leaders need more than charm.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.