Pastors come from within the community of faith, not to it from the outside

My last post considered the position of a pastor within the church community. I quoted Tom Long, who says, “we come from within the community of faith and not to it from the outside.”

I made this extra observation in a footnote, but it merits more than a footnote:

Of course, this notion draws into question not just how preachers enter worship, but how pastors are appointed. In the UMC, we expect our pastors to be sent to us “from the outside.” Churches that “call” their pastors from somewhere else expect the same.

How few congregations embrace the crazy idea that their next leader(s) may already be in the room! How much would that one change of assumptions change about a church?

What if your next lead pastor were already in the room? Your next youth or children’s pastor? What if someone told you today that one of the teenagers in your church will one day be leading it?

Let’s add some extra urgency… What if someone told you that you’re not allowed to hire or receive an appointment from the outside for your next pastor? You must fill that role with a current member.

Would that change anything about what you’re doing? Why not begin to act that way now?