In my Bible, this week's reading from Ephesians bears the title, "Rules for the New Life." The text reads like a laundry list of more or less unrelated instructions. Put away falsehood. Speak the truth, be angry but don't sin, and do not make room for the devil. Give up stealing and work honestly. Speak only what is useful for building up; do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Put away bitterness, anger, slander, and malice.
I've always admired the prophets. Their job of truth-telling required such courage and personal sacrifice. Yet they never held back. They spoke the truth no matter the consequences. I imagine they were lonely, then. Who could stand their challenging company for very long?
Personal relationships, however, weren't the prophets' priority. Their job was to tell God's truth in a way that would be heard.
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).