Recently, Baptist News posted an article that provided some key questions ministerial candidates should ask during the pastor search process. They were good important questions and in some cases tough questions, but as I read the article, what overwhelmed me were the questions that the author didn’t have to ask in the pastor search process.
He didn’t have to ask if the committee was seriously considering him as a candidate because of his gender, something that his female colleagues always have to ask. In fact, female candidates even have to wonder about whether they are being considered for their merit or for grants and incentives like those offered by Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri. Yes, you read that correctly, churches can get paid to interview a female candidate for the pastor position. They don’t have to hire a woman, just interview her. The idea is to help female candidates get their foot in the door since many, many female looking for senior pastor positions don’t even make it to the interview phase of the pastor search process. What has happened instead is that the incentive program opens the door not for more opportunities, but for more theological and spiritual discrimination.
Perhaps instead of asking questions about the issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation the author should have advised white males to risk their position of privilege and power in the pastor search process by asking whether the committee was considering candidates from these groups who have been and are being systemically discriminated against.
After all, we have to.
If we even make it to the interview phase.