Rarely do I compare biblical passages with television, let
alone reality TV. But in preparing this week's Century lectionary column, somehow I started thinking about the
show Undercover Boss, in which a
high-level executive joins his or her own company's working ranks incognito. I
couldn't let it go.
Some congregations are increasingly relying on search firms to fill pastoral vacancies. Minister Search, the first such firm, began in 2001. It didn’t have a single client the first year, but now it does searches for 30 to 50 pastoral positions annually. Another firm began in 2010 and has completed 753 placements. Ministerial search firms are particularly popular with independent congregations, which lack a denominational structure for finding candidates. Firms typically charge a congregation about one-third the annual compensation of the hired minister (Chicago Tribune, September 4).