Brother Lee quit his job as a district manager at LG at the end of March to concentrate on his seminary studies. He had actually submitted his resignation about 2 years ago to go into full time ministry. However, the company begged him to stay, promising to give him enough time to take a few seminary courses concurrently. So until now he has been studying part time. Now he will be a full time seminary student. Since he will serve as one our staff members, our church will support him financially.
As for his ministry responsibilities, he will continue to serve as a shepherd, lead one of the Bible courses our church offers and lead the 6 week premarital counseling class for our church. Additionally, he will now be in charge of the third worship service we plan to have on Sunday evenings. This worship service will target young nonbelievers in the Houston and will led by younger members. He will also become a resource person for shepherds after he takes some counseling courses.
Eventually, he will be ordained to become a pastor. However, whether he will serve at our church or not is your decision, not mine. It takes the congregation’s vote for him to be an associate pastor or my successor when I retire. Brother Lee and his wife are fully aware that there is a good possibility that he may not serve long term in our church. He is happy just to have an opportunity to be trained and serve as an intern. In fact, he does not want to discuss this topic at all because he feels the unnecessary speculation may hamper his ministry.
It is rare for a lay person to become a pastor of the church he attends because he is often too familiar a figure. People want change; they want someone new, so they frequently choose a pastor they don’t know too well. Unfortunately, because of this unfamiliarity, over time the new pastor can reveal weaknesses and shortcomings which were not evident when the church chose him, leading to strife and church breakups.
A new pastor must strike a delicate balance, trying different things to help the church progress, but not abandoning everything his predecessor established. He must have the wisdom to know what to keep and what to discard. I think this type of wisdom is especially critical with our church since our structure is different from most traditional churches. Our church consists of house churches, with autonomous but interdependent Korean and English speaking congregations. We also place a heavy emphasis on children’s education. If a new pastor does not understand our church’s unique qualities, he may destroy the whole church. My goal is to help Brother Lee grow in discernment in what is uniquely good and what can be improved at our church, based on the assumption that he will become my successor.
Two years before I retire you will have the chance to vote on my successor. It is fine you choose not to select Brother Lee. With his skills, maturity, and heart to serve, he will be able to find a church to serve at easily. Some people complain that he is too much like me, but there are quite a few churches who are looking for someone like me. However, as a congregation you must choose what you believe is best for the church. If you choose to find someone else I will give total freedom to the church and not get over-involved in the pastor selection process.
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