Jack-Legged Preachers

    He called them, “jack-legged preachers.” This is how Joe McKeever began his recent article. My first inclination was to stop right there and close the article. I stopped myself, as I recalled a conversation my wife and I once had, about giving people a chance. SO, I went on, beginning to read the next paragraph. It was in his second paragraph in which he refers to “solid-God-called-well-established-servants.”

    Back-peddling, I read that Mr. McKeever described “jack-legged preachers” as “self-taught, self-designated and probably self-called.”  While the purpose of his article is to explore what can be done for “the unemployed, but faithful, servant of the Lord.”

     I can’t necessarily explain why I find his descriptive analysis offensive, but I do. Perhaps it’s because I personally studied the Bible on my own, for nearly seven years, before beginning any formal type of training. And in his own words, Mr. McKeever says, that this “is not a compliment.” Okay, perhaps I do know why the beginning of his article offended me. I certainly hope that I’m not the only one offended.

    Exactly how does one tell the difference between a “self-called” preacher and a “God-called” preacher? And I’m not talking about the obvious ones who ask us on television at two in the morning to send our money if we want to be healthy and prosperous. So, I ask again, how do we tell the difference; and I’d be interested in knowing what Spiritual method Mr. McKeever employs in determining who is “self-called” and who is “God-called.”

    Since I have been employed in retail management for the past thirty plus years, could someone please tell me at what point I called “myself” into the ministry, in the past several years? How will Mr. McKeever determine if I am “self-called” or “God-called?”

    At this point, I find myself still unable to move on and finish reading Mr. McKeever’s article. I’m confident that he would never consider someone like me a “solid-God-called preacher.” He could perhaps throw me in the “unemployed” category; yet, since I’ve never actually searched for any position within a church, I’m not sure that that would necessarily deem me unemployed or unemployable. (I am employed, though not in the ministry).

    I obviously have no knowledge of Mr. McKeever’s educational background. I’m sure he’s had a good one. I simply wonder where he learned this point of view. Is it because he’s an “Ivy-leaguer; is it because he attended the most revered theological college or seminary? Is it simply one he learned through experience?

    Though he perhaps never intended for his article to resonate the way it dad, at least with myself, it did. How many times has it been said that much of communication is based on the perspective of the hearer, just as with beauty being in the eye of the beholder? Though I may apologize for coming out strongly and sarcastically against Mr. McKeever’s opening statements, his opinion and sentiment concerning preachers that may not match-up to his level, is quite clear.

    Now, 500 words later, I feel I have worked too hard to not pay him the respect of at least finishing his article. Since I have lightly written on this subject prior, I absolutely agree with Mr. McKeever and appreciate his thoughts and feelings concerning unemployed preachers.

    It is truly sad that anyone, with good knowledge of the Bible and a pure heart to share it with a congregation, is left unemployed.  Mr. McKeever is most certainly correct about a number of “pastor search committees,” that fail to take the leap of faith.

   I believe I wrote on this before, but I will say it here, again. Could there exist the option for a “term-limit contract?” That is, can a church seek to hire a preacher on say a 3, 5, or 10-year term, where at the subsequent end of each term, both the church and the preacher can discuss possible future terms or the end of such tenure?

   If the church is considering hiring a “new,” “untried” preacher, perhaps a term-limit of one or two years may be in order. This may benefit a church, especially if they are merely looking for an “interim” pastor while at the same time, allowing the new minister to gain experience.

   At the end of the day, and while I am not happy with how Mr. McKeever put his thoughts into words at the outset of his article, very appreciative of his concern for the issue of unemployed ministers, and thank him for his 50 plus years of ministry service. I shall leave you all with my simple thought, If God wants any person, regardless of experience or education, to lead a congregation, then nothing will keep that person down.

©2017 Clayton Moore

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