Called to account: The importance of pastoral evaluations

Of the three historic professions—law, medicine, and ministry—ministry is the only one that functions without a regulatory body overseeing its practitioners.

My primary care physician, who has operated his practice for 35 years, must pass certification exams every seven years if he wants to stay in business. That hurdle involves weeks and even months of late night studying. My attorney must meet mandatory continuing education and certifying requirements each year and report to a State Supreme Court commission.

Pastors of congregations are in a different league. They aren’t required to have a license to perform or retain their position. No federal or state examiners drop in for site visits. No certification exams are required. Continuing education is recommended but typically optional. A pastor can even obtain an ordination certificate online.