Choices of Faith

Scot McKnight has an interesting post over at Jesus Creed on “How the Copts Pick a Pope.” I encourage you to read the article for yourself, but to sum up the process, a group of clergy and some laity get together and whittle down the candidates, who must meet certain minimum requirements, to three. The final choice is one of faith, as the name of the new pope is drawn by lot by an impartial blindfolded child.

As we approach a General Conference in The Wesleyan Church, where in all likelihood we will be moving to a one General Superintendent structure (instead of three), I wondered if this method was proposed from the floor, would it fly. I suppose to stay consistent with our existing rules, the general conference would have to vote to confirm the lot.

What if for a local church pastoral position, the district superintendent and the search committee got together, sorted through resumes and references, and narrowed the field to three? Then they would let a child choose the next pastor, perhaps even without interviews or a candidate Sunday? Scary thought or step of faith? I suppose there would have to be another lot to determine if the pastor received a 2-year, 4-year, or extended call. And if chosen by lot, would the pastor then be required answer that call? Again, scary thought or step of faith? But if a pastor did not want to go to a small, bi-vocational, rural, inner-city, or struggling church, then they should not of submitted their resume.

When choosing leaders in the Church we are always making a step of faith, however, it seems to me that the Coptic method is demonstrability showing faith in God, whereas our Western method leans toward showing faith in the person. Both trust that God oversees the process, so I am not saying one way is better than the other, just different. Or perhaps I would just feel better about being told I am a church’s second choice if I knew the first candidate’s name had just been chosen out of a hat! 🙂

©2012 Paul Tillman

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