There's a young man in my congregation--let's call him
"Michael"--who's trying to turn his life around. He's been in and out of
detention centers and prisons since he was 13. Over and over again, he was
caught stealing cars, smoking pot, breaking and entering; you name it, he's
done it. But now he's trying to change, to turn around.
Walk through most people's houses, and you'll quickly get a sense of what they love. The art on the walls, the books on the shelves, the kitchen gadgets, photographs, knickknacks and pets, the size and number of TVs—all reveal where the occupants' hearts lie.
Theories of change vary widely. Does progress arise from
countless participants, working in countless places and ways? Does it require
an organized movement? How critical are public, influential leaders? At what
point is there a need for precedent to be set from the top down?
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).