As of August of this year, it has been 5 years since I started serving as a Senior Pastor and now it is the 6th year. According to SBC constitution, there is a vote for reappointment for Sr. Pastor at the end of his 6th year. If 2/3 of voting executed by registered church members is for the reappointment, Sr. Pastor will have a Sabbatical year and serve for another 6 years. This reappointment voting will recur every 7 years like this. The sabbatical year can be for one year or a part of a year depends on the preference of the pastor. Please refer to the church constitution which is on the church website.
The other day, I mentioned this reappointment system of SBC in one of Sr. Pastors’ gatherings. Upon hearing it, one pastor who does a good ministry work and has my respect, flatly declared. ‘It is not a good system.’ I was surprised to hear that since I used to consider this system as a good system and knew that this pastor’s church also has reappointment procedure for deacons, so I asked him why.
According to him, humans have a strange tendency to apply lofty standard if chance is given and by doing so cause problems which could have been avoided without such chance like reappointment. Negative comments from couple of people can easily gather momentum and stir up the whole congregation. Reappointment for deacon does not affect church that much, but Reappointment for Sr. Pastor can break churches and he himself witnessed such occasions. Therefore, reappointment for Sr. Pastor may sound justice but it can be fatal.
When I heard his reason, I could understand his position. In addition, without any big issue, it is likely to have approval of 2/3 and receive the reappointment. However, how many votes should be construed as an encouragement to continue? For example, if the number of apposition is greater than expected, although the number of approval is sufficiently high, the other number could dash the willingness and gladness of who starts the new term.
Nevertheless, I believe the system has greater merit than fault. It is good to be evaluated regularly since the existence of evaluation can serve as a challenge and prevent from falling into an idle rut. Such is a healthy stimulus. I believe that will contribute for the health of church. I only hope that the reappointment ballot will be a chance to reflect the opinion of congregation rather than simple ‘for’ or ‘against’.
I started to think about how to accurately evaluate pastor’s ministry work since voting can be misleading. Someone who wants certain improvement may cast against vote and ended up shattering the will of new term. On the other hand, some see the need of improvement but they think it is not against and cast ‘for’ vote which results in the false impression of ‘Everything is good.’ These are examples of limitation of ‘yes, no’ vote. Since there is still time, we will seek God’s wisdom and we will have a good reappointment program.
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