Search and Call Reject

Written by Joel on September 25th, 2009

I have sent my ministry profile -it’s like a divinely-inspired resume- to about a dozen churches over the last couple of months. Of those, I’ve met with two search committees. Of the rest, half ignored me all together and half sent rejection notices of one form or another. In this post I am going to share with you some of the most interesting, and egregious, examples of how churches reject a potential man of the cloth. Please know that this post is all in good humor and I mean no offense to the churches which asked me to “keep looking” (and especially those who are still considering me). Because everything is done by committee in the search & call process I got nothing but time on my hands to write all about it.


5) “The ministry position is filled, I just forgot to remove it from the job board.” This one is more of a timing issue. It’s not so much that I am not called there, God just didn’t call me soon enough.


4) “Your prior military service may be a problem” (from a traditionally nonviolent denomination). A catch-22 if ever I heard one: God called me to ministry within the military, and yet that same military service prevents my call to the ministry. On the other hand maybe I am called to put the “fist” back in pacifist. Maybe the denomination should have a “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy concerning military service.

3) “While we recognize and appreciate your willingness to serve wherever and however God calls you, we do not believe your experience matches the qualifications we are seeking at this time.” I forgot all about that part in the Bible where it says, in Hezekiah 3:16 “Then the Lord commandeth Moses to produce a resume listing his qualifications. Upon determining that he was well qualified and experienced at freeing other enslaved peoples, The Lord called Moses to Egypt to set his people free.”

You latte sippin-lefty!

You latte sippin-lefty!

2)  (a VERY loose paraphrase) “We know all about that latte-sippin, tree-huggin, sushi-eatin, bleeding-heart, liberal Disciples of Christ denomination. We won’t have you coming in our church jeopardizing our immortal souls!” Oh the tragedy – we may have been made for each other. If only they knew me better, perhaps by reading my blog? I need to put more effort in advertising.

1) “The search committee…regrets to inform you that the call the Lord has placed in your heart is not for our church at this time.” Man-up, search committee! Take some responsibility. Do I have to remind you that you are congregationalist, that means you have the final say. You can’t have it both ways.

What about you? What’s the most memorable way you have been turned down?


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Sean says:

    I had one tell me that I wasn’t a fit for their opening (a camp program director… something I have lots of experience in), but that the interviewer thought I would make a great pastor some day. I wish I could have him tell that to the 20 some churches I’ve applied for.

  2. Jason Weirich says:

    I have had a few churches tell me my Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation/Religion “did not count” for what they were looking for. Because it was not a seminary degree or an M Div…..forget it!

    Another thing I found funny is I have been working with teens and children since high school and I am almost 27. I had a church look at my resume (loaded with internships and relevant work) and send me a rejection letter that week stating things did not match up.

    I know churches need to be picky. Shoot….I am an unemployed pastor right now. But they need to realize there is NO PERFECT PASTOR. They should be looking for a solid Christian first.

  3. Joel,

    Are you sending your profile directly to churches or going through the search and call process? If you are having problems being placed, are you talking with Regional Ministers?

    If you are Disciple and directly contacting churches, they will (and should) want you to work through the system.

    • Joel says:

      Thanks Bob for your comments here.

      I am in Search and Call via two regions – the one in which I am under care and the one in which I reside (they are neighbors). There is a mutual agreement between the regions that I will continue with the ordination process with my home region and be able to serve here. My home region has produced several possible calls which I have explored – distance is a factor however. The new region where I now live has produced none, for whatever reason.

      I have also pursued several non-Disciple calls which I found via 3rd party ministry lists via the web. I am finding it odd to discover a number of DoC and UCC postings on these 3rd party websites, perhaps congregations are not using Search and Call here?

      I have been in Search and Call for 7 months now. There is a promising call at a rural congregation, they anticipate making their final recommendation by the end of next week.

      Thanks for asking!

  4. Joel,

    My advice, unless you have family reasons to do otherwise, is to put your name out nationwide. I never intended to come to Michigan, but here I am.

  5. Joel says:


    My search was restricted because I am still under-care.

    And good news…I have been selected by a search committee to be the next pastor at a local church. I haven’t made an announcement here yet cause there are still some details to work out including a congregational vote.

    Keep praying for this!

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