Thursday, May 31, 2007

Assimilation Pastors...

At the onset let me admit this post is a bit random. Generally speaking I prefer discussing something more substantial, but I will allow myself a brief sojourn into the territory of critiquing the seemingly benign.

Have you ever been in a larger church that has multiple pastors? I'm not talking the typical church with a 'senior' pastor and 'youth' pastor. I'm talking about churches that have 4-5 pastors or more on staff. I had the privilege of serving in a church with a pastoral staff of three. I enjoyed the ability to 'specialize'. The ability to concentrate on fewer domains of ministry, along with the wonderful opportunities of fellowship provided by multiple staff, makes this a very desired system.

Churches in these situations may have a Pastor of Counseling, Senior High Pastor, Seniors Pastor, Children's Pastor, Families Pastor, Visitation pastor, or a other number of positions. One particular position--the Pastor of Assimilation--greatly annoys me. Now, the actual duties of this position are wonderful, and I am in full agreement with the concept of it. I just hate the name. Every time I hear it I am reminded of the Borg from Star Trek. Come on....what on earth are these churches thinking. This position is designed for those who are NEW to the church. Those of us who grew up in church may well tolerate the name, but have these churches even considered what new believers or unbelievers would think when they heard this term?

It sounds like a cult, or some sort of meat-processing plant, or even a Nazi prison. In my mind, it conjures up images of a B-sci-fi movie where some steroid-using muscular actor playing a half-human/half-machine says in a monotone voice, "I must assimilate you".

So, unless these churches are planning on processing meat, or turning people into the Borg, I suggest we come up with another name.

What about these options:"Newcomers Pastor"; "Pastor of Early Discipleship"; "New Believers Pastor". OK, OK...so these are a bit awkward. But what about the good old traditional standby: "Associate Pastor". Its vague, but leaves opportunities for further clarification.

Ideas are welcome. Think of them quick before you are assimilated.

9 comments:

  1. I think Calvary in GR has an "Assimilation Committee" that welcomes newcomers somehow. I remember having the same thoughts as you when I saw it in the bulletin, Trekie that I am :-)

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  2. What a great analogy referring to the Borg. I agree with you 100%.

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  3. It is so interesting...the reason I found your blog was I searched to find a description of said position. I'm not sure we (Ministers of the Gospel of Jeshua)truly get it...K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Saints. Live Long and Prosper! :-)

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  4. I too was looking for the meaning of this position and found you blog. I like many left the church once I moved away. Well, I am happy to say I have been back in church now for over a year and thank God for never leaving me. I'm also thankful for his mercy and forgiveness.

    Quite interesting term and I'm still not sure what it means :) I guess there's allot to be said for being relevant, which is something else we didn't worry about back at my parents church in Tennessee. What happened to worshiping God with reverence and preaching the Gospel? May God Bless you Pastor and keep up the good work.

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  5. Pastor of Inclusion? or Conformity? or Incorporation? Absorption? Nothing really fits, does it.

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  6. What do you think about "Connection Pastor"? Isn't that what this Pastor does? Connects and plugs people into the right areas. The role is crucial to implementing and culturing the need for relationship in the church. Thoughts?

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  7. I think Connection pastor is the perfect name. We assimilation pastors connect new people to God and the Church body.

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  8. As someone who just became a Pastor of Assimilation last week (new position), I immediately posted on FB, "Should our team motto be, 'resistance is futile'?". I will petition that the name be changed to "Connections Pastor". Sounds so much more inviting. Thanks anonymous, wherever you are..

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  9. I'm not a new Christian, but new to the Baptist Church and the church I grew up on did not have quite so many Pastors with strange names...this one annoys me also and I totally agree that we should not use terminology that could be off-putting to the "unchurched"...pastor on Sunday used the words "Legalist and Libertine" over and over in His sermon!

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