You’ve seen those Galleries of Former Pastors in church buildings: professionally-taken photos of mostly men line the hallways and parlor walls of church buildings. Occasionally, there might be a woman, but most of the images are of male pastors who have served Since The Beginning.
These are excellent days to be bold in our faith – especially if we are seeking a new pastor.
Although there are pastor nominating committees who say that they are totally open to The Spirit in discerning their next leaders, they tend to seek leaders who look like their past leaders. Male. Married to a woman. Skin color matching the current majority of members.
Please don’t tell me you hope to become “a more diverse congregation” and then call someone who doesn’t represent a demographic that affirms that hope.
There are more than 230 More Light congregations in my denomination (i.e. churches working “for the full participation of LGBTQIA+ people in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and in society.”) And very few of these congregations have ever had a pastor who identifies as LGBTQIA+. This is curious to me.
If our congregation identifies as “More Light” and we are open to calling pastors who can be their true selves as leaders of our church, then why aren’t we calling LGBTQIA+ pastors?
The majority of our congregations in my denomination are White. Most are 100% White. If everybody in your community/town/county is White, then your congregation will be 100% White. Of course.
And if our communities are increasingly Black, Brown, Golden, or a mixture of all skin colors, and we are serious about “reaching out into the community” then why haven’t we seriously considered calling a pastor who doesn’t look like the majority demographic?
If you are a congregation who can call a Queer pastor (in a majority Straight church) or Brown pastor (in a majority White church) or a Spanish-speaking pastor (in a majority English-speaking church with Spanish-speaking neighbors) or a Korean-speaking pastor (in a majority English-speaking church with Korean-speaking neighbors) then please do it.
You are the ones who can actually do this. So please do it. And if you – predominantly straight White English-speaking churches – are looking for great candidates who happen to be LGBTQIA+ or People of Color who speak multiple languages, contact me today. I will introduce you to some of the finest pastors in the world.
Image of the Wall of Fame found in a wonderful church in Grand Haven, MI. This post is inspired by SB.