Protestant Ministers ...the influence

I’d like to ask my Protestant Brothers the role the minister/preacher plays in the decesion process on what church to attend.

I became curious about this concept because of what the Rev Wright has been preaching from his pulpit in Chicago.

Is the way the message is delivered more important then the message? Does the growth of a particular church depend on the preacher and his ability to be charismatic, dynamic, and likeable? Is it wrong to say the Faith of some Protestants is tied to how well the preacher can motivate people into action?

Also when it comes time for a change, who makes that decesion and why? Does the minisiter go off message and need phasing out, or do some just want a change of pace?

How do y’all know when a preacher has left the reservation? I mean he might be the guy that founded that church in *that *building. Now some say he has to go?

I’d prefer not starting a flame throwing contest, but I’m curious about the process. As Catholics our focus is not on the priest, or choir etc, but on what takes place at the Mass.

Also we have a defined chain of command. We don’t have much say in who the Bishop sends for our pastors. I like it that way, because it removes alot of local politics.

With respect to how a minister is chosen or dismissed I can provide a summary of how it is done in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. It will of course be different for others, especially non-denominational ones where there is no outside structure.

A minister can leave for many reasons. He may be retiring or he may want to move to a different parish. If moving to a different congregation he will require approval of the presbytery. (Yes we do call it a parish)

The individual congregations are not able to dismiss a minister on their own authority. They must ask the approval of their presbytery, a council composed of representatives from all the churches in a geographical area. The presbytery may do whatever investigations it sees fit before making a decision. If there is conflict among the ministerial staff of a church, they too may request an investigation by presbytery.

When it comes to calling a new minister, the congregation makes it known that it is looking for a minister. The Kirk Session of the congregation will establish a search committee. Once a candidate is selected, that person will preach to the church. The members of the church must then decide whether to issue a call. If it does so there must be approval by at least 80% of all members on the roll. If a call is made, the presbytery of the congregation must approve the call. The presbytery from which the minister is coming, if he presently has a charge must also approve.

While I am sure that the style of the minister may affect some people, if they do move it is generally to another Presbyterian church and their membership is transferred.

I hope this answers some of your questions.

Lutherans - most synods - use a call system. Pastors who are “in the field” already notify the synod or district that they are interested in moving. Parishes in need of a pastor will, too, notify the synod or district. The synod will then make a list of available pastors known to a parish in need, who will then interview in various ways, choose one, and offer a call to him, which he may or may not accept. A parish may also make a call from the seminary, which is more of an appointment system.

Baptists believe in the autonomy of the individual church. It is the members of the congregation who ultimately make the decision on ministers, budget issues, etc. And yes, they will take time out of a service to review the budget once a year.

Also, I have seen it where the issue is brought up in the morning service, but is examined more thoroughly at the evening service. (Many Baptist churches have two services on Sunday which are different from each other. Most people attend the morning service, some attend the evening, some attend both.)

EDIT (additional text added):

As for the focus of the services, it depends on the individual church. I once criticized Baptists for “church shopping” based off of who has the best preacher. Some Baptists do this. But so do some Catholics.

I do not think most Baptists “church shop.” The focus of the church service is worship of God. This takes part through singing of hymns, hearing the Word, hearing the sermon, and often study of Scripture before or after the main service, and also, occasionaly, fellowship meals that follow.

EDIT (more added):

Anyway, (when I will I learn to say all I want to in one breath?) if the members are dissatisfied at the preacher or another minister, they have the right to dispose of him (or her).

When it comes to calling a new minister, the congregation makes it known that it is looking for a minister. The Kirk Session of the congregation will establish a search committee. Once a candidate is selected, that person will preach to the church. The members of the church must then decide whether to issue a call. If it does so there must be approval by at least 80% of all members on the roll. If a call is made, the presbytery of the congregation must approve the call. The presbytery from which the minister is coming, if he presently has a charge must also approve.

Sy- does this mean the congregation is gonna have the final say on the new guy?

My 52 years of being Catholic never had a priest leave the reservation. For sure, some have been more dynamic or likeable the others, but they were still good, holy men. They taught and adhered to Church doctine and Canon law. One thing about the Catholic Church, it is easy to find out what the rules are, if you don’t know them.

I’m not sure, but I think our diocese adopted the policy of limited tenure a long time ago. Meaning no pastor stays at any one parish longer then 7 years. I’m always saddened when a pastor at my parish is reassigned, but the Bishop has a Diocese to run.

The answer to that depends on the church and/or organization in question.

One of the biggest differences among Evangelical Protestants is in regards to polity and church government.

I personally lean toward a plurality of elders leading each local church, with the lead pastor/elder serving as first among equals. This is the clear apostolic pattern shown throughout the NT for the local church.

I also believe there should be trans-local oversight, essentially patterned via jurisdiction with an “regional eldership” as it were, etc.

Outside of that, the local church membership in conference decides matters of importance for that local church. They, or those delegated by them, choose the lead pastor, set his tenure, etc.

When I left the RCC for an Evangelical Church that exactly the scenario/church/denomination that I attended (as posted above).

However, that was a growing Church and they did encourage folks to “church shop” as they expected folks to ultimately decide to attend that Church.

Un-programmed Friends don’t have “ministers” who act as “pastor”, each Friend is considered a minister. In some Meetings, all though among most un-programmed Meetings it has been discontinued, those Friends who displayed a gift of “vocal ministry” were “recorded” as "ministers. They were not ordained as ordination comes from God and the ordination confirmed by the Spirt was “recorded” with the Yearly Meeting.

The Clerk of the Meeting presides in all Meetings for Worship for Business in each Monthy Meeting. It is the Clerks duty to determine the “sense of the Meeting” in business matters. Decisions are by prayerful consideration, discussion and “waiting upon the Lord” for “clearness.”

Among Friends…“majority” doesn’t necessarily mean ‘right’. If a Friend has a strong “concern” on any issue, the Meeting listens until any objections are no longer voiced or the Friend who has the strong “concern” withdraws their objection. I have been in Meetings for business where a single voice challenged the Meeting to reconsider the direction it seemed to be going…after a time of prayerful seeking the Light, this Friends “concern” was seen as Spirit led…government by consensus can take a long time…and a lot of listening to one another and prayer.

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