In the movie District 9, an alien spaceship stalls in the skies above Johannesburg. After three months with no communication, South Africans decide to board the ship, only to find a million aliens who need rescuing. They move them to District 9, an area that’s a cross between a township and a refugee camp.
Unlike the synoptics, the evangelist John reports a three-year ministry
for Jesus, marking his time through the passage of three Passovers. But
Jesus also observes three other Jewish feasts in the course of John’s
I live and work with a lot of folks who believe that God has given up on
them. They are convinced that their failures are so great that there is
no way that God can use them to bring hope or healing to others. Many
have lives that are controlled by the memory of some past failure. Many
of them throw in the towel and decide that the way life has been is the
way it always will be.
At a church leadership retreat, a tall man with a mustache and red suspenders stands up and says, “Several of us here find ourselves wondering if our church is still God-centered. It seems to us something’s missing.” At another retreat, a woman blurts out, “But what do we believe?
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).