Reproducible Clergy Wanted Ad

Sarah Dylan Breuer left a good follow-up comment down on the previous post about pressures the *other way* in looking for a clergy job. Fundamentally, it comes down to expectations. Parishes have them and they want their clergy to meet them no matter how contradictory they are… In light of that reality, I’ve decided to relieve vestries, call committees, and others of part of the burdensome process of writing a clergy wanted ad. I’ve helpfully done it for them, all they need to do is cut and paste.

Qualifications to be a Priest/Pastor/Minister [choose one] at [your church name here]

[Church name here] is a loving, inclusive parish who offers a warm and hearty welcome to all people who come through our doors! And are just like us.

We are seeking a clergy person. We aren’t picky and will take anyone who loves the Lord and the people of God. Here are a few necessary qualifications.

The applicant as a family person:

  • We accept both male and female applicants for this position.
  • If you are a woman you shouldn’t look too…”feminist.” You know what we mean.
  • Applicant should be married and have strong “family values”.
  • Should have a successful, caring, supportive spouse who is used to not seeing their partner for weeks at a time and has no problem with this.
  • Should have a strong family life. Seven to ten perfectly behaved children preferable. At least six should be the couple’s biological children.
  • One should be a baby who never cries or makes noises unless the altar guild ladies think it’s an appropriate time to be “cute”.
  • It would be cool if one was an orphan adopted from Somalia and the family went over and rescued the poor child in a harrowing escapade of heroism that could be told whenever the Baptist down the street brags about his mission trip to Mexico.
  • This heroic escapade was accomplished while only taking off one day. In the middle of the week.
  • In short—be kinda like that guy on “Seventh Heaven” but without the drama. ‘Cause this isn’t a sit com, you know.

The applicant’s finances/class:

  • Should be independently wealthy and should feel that it’s totally unreasonable for the parish to have to pay for benefits.
  • Should come from a decent middle-class family–maybe a “Everybody Loves Raymond” kind of family–so nobody feels wierd around them.
  • Should know which fork to use, special French phrases to use at certain events, and know what sort of wine pairs with everything from oysters-on-the-half-shell to hotdish.
  • Should exhibit a preferential option for the poor as commanded by the Gospel.
  • Shouldn’t make awkward suggestions about how parishioners choose to spend their money.
  • Should be a snappy dresser and have a nice house suitable for entertaining.
  • But nothing you own really ought to be nicer than what parishioners have because, hey, we’re paying you (when the checks clear) to pray–not to buy fancy things.

The applicant’s experience:

  • Should have at least one academic degree above the MDiv. Everybody else’s minister has an MDiv—we deserve something a bit more.
  • Should have a minimum of 10 years in the non-profit development field to take some heat of the Stewardship committee.
  • Should have about 10 years in corporate management to know how to run the church properly and to be able to relate to the office-worker types in the congregation.
  • Should have a few years’ experience as a factory or migrant worker. This is desirable to earn credibility with the blue-collar folks in the parish and with liberals who think it’s cool and who often thought about doing just that but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
  • Should be between 27 and 33 years of age and still have loads of fresh new insights.
  • But shouldn’t dress like those punk kids do. Tattoos and body piercings are right out.
  • Unless those punk kids think that kind of thing is cool and will come on Sundays both washed and groomed.
  • And speaking of those punk kids, the applicant should have sufficient experience with youth to be able to explain how free love and psychotropic drug use was really cool when the youth’s parents did it and reinforce that the youth’s parents are still hip and cool but communicate clearly that such things are no longer cool and should not be done, period.

The applicant’s ministry skills:

  • Liturgically, should be open to and competent in a wide range of worship styles.
  • Should be able to execute on five minutes’ notice (when *that* set of relatives is in town) a full-on solemn high mass properly including skillful use of the censer (using a non-allergenic, non-offensive incense that certainly shouldn’t affect anyone’s asthma but have a great scent. Maybe something like fabric softener.), chanting a gospel while correctly pointing it on the fly, and an amazing ability to wear gorgeous vestments that match both the liturgical season and the flowers on the altar. Should also have personally assured that all vestments, linens, and acolytes are properly and crisply ironed.
  • Should not be overly nit-picky or uptight about liturgical matters.
  • Should be able to sense when Evangelical friends critical of “mainline Protestant” worship are in the sanctuary and execute a perfect low mass, preaching a fiery thirty minute sermon that convicts all present of their sin while making them feel really good about themselves and accompanying one of the hymns on guitar and harmonica.
  • All services will be exactly 55 minutes so that parishioners can beat the Baptists to the restraunts
  • Should spend at least 20 hours a week in personal and hospital visitation.
  • Should spend at least 20 hours a week preparing thoughtful sermons.
  • Should spend at least 20 hours a week in thoughtful reflection for a new inspirational book or something like that Rick Warren guy so we can brag about going to your church at cocktail parties.
  • Should spend at least 20 hours a week in bold and open acts of evangelism and faith-sharing to grow the church rapidly.
  • But not evangelism in that tacky way.
  • Should have a robust personal prayer life.
  • Should be attendant upon family or personal emergencies at any hour of the day or night within 5 minutes of receiving the call in immaculate clergy dress with appropriate pastoral composure.
  • Should have several Bible studies at times that are convenient for me. Not that I’m *going* to come but I certainly ought to be able to come if I want.
  • Should have a strong stance on and be willing to speak out strongly on “family values.” And use that phrase the way *I* do—not like those other people, especially that one group in the congregation (you know who I mean).
  • Should be open, inclusive, and tolerant.
  • Should not associate with the wrong kind of people.

    [page turn…]

Warning: I am updating this occasionally as I realize I’ve forgotten things…

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16 Responses to Reproducible Clergy Wanted Ad

  1. Caelius says:

    It would be funny if it weren’t so close to the truth. It seems as if the job description for the laity has become sparer and sparer.

  2. Sarah Dylan Breuer says:

    Brilliant!

  3. Anastasia says:

    wow. can I borrow this for the nominating committee? Wait, no, this list isn’t quite specific enough.

  4. Annie says:

    Shouldn’t there be something in there about being charismatic enough to encourage rapid church growth? We are hoping to increase our membership by at least thirty members per annum or a minimum of nine new families. And, in case attendence is down, to perform a minimum of two services every Sunday even if only ten people are at the early service? (I loved the one about the Bible studies!)

  5. Derek the Ænglican says:

    Oh–good point Annie. I’ll add that into ministry skills…

  6. Derek the Ænglican says:

    Okay. All appropriately updated…

  7. *Christopher says:

    Funny, I’ll have to read it through again for updates to add. But also profoundly saddening.

  8. *Christopher says:

    BTW: I plan on posting further on bearing one another’s burdens and lifting up one another’s joys using St. Paul. Hopefully this weekend.

  9. Derek the Ænglican says:

    In the midst of wackiness there is much sad news and additional burdens to bear. Lutherpunk is in need of our prayers and support as well.

  10. *Christopher says:

    I saw…I had to pause, close the office door, and cry for a bit.

  11. Anastasia says:

    i hate the use of the word grow as a transitive verb.

  12. frog says:

    Hilarious. I served on our church’s Search Committee while my cousin (in another denomination) was a candidate–we had some hilarious conversations, as well as learning a lot from each other.

    He’s happy in his church, and my priest seems to be happy in ours.

  13. Purechristianithink says:

    You forgot the part about being fluent in the language of the immigrant group moving into our community that we find cool and acceptable and would like to start a worship service for. Said service will not, of course, require any inconvience to us the “main congregation”.

  14. Gracious Light says:

    I didn’t know you were on my church’s Staff-Parish Relations Committee and a United Methodist Board of Ordained Ministry!

    Maybe say something about how not only do we want you well versed in homiletical skills for the sermon at the 11am service but also be able to do the hip, stand-up-esque, multi-media thing (With movies) for the early service.

    Oh yeah, and make sure you tell plenty of good jokes but teacch my kids the Bible because I’m too lazy. Also while you’re teaching the Bible to kids, make sure they are having fun.

  15. Derek the Ænglican says:

    Thanks y’all…

    Anastasia, anything I can do to annoy the grammar police… :-D

    Frog, purechirstianithink, thanks for visiting!

    Dave–good to see you around the neighborhood again!

  16. Gracious Light says:

    How does the old saying go… rumors of my death have been greatly exagerated… or something like that.

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