"Are you ready to preach about masturbation?" This was the question I was presented with recently while on a job interview at a large, up and coming, highly successful church.....and it wasn't a joke. Before I begin with the rest of the story and my coinciding rant/critique, let me first of all say that these "successful" churches led by Daugherty and Ryan Seacrest wanna-be's are actually doing some good things. There are a number of people out there that have been so numbed by the lifeless, judgmental churches of their past that they previously wouldn't have ever darkened the door of a Jesus-following church until the Celebri-Church came and wowed them back to their childhood faith. So the bottom line is that lives are being turned back to the Bible and a faith in Jesus Christ. I get that and am glad for it. It's just not for me like it used to be.
See, I used to work in the mega-church atmosphere and even was a major proponent of Celebri-Church style until I started to realize that it all seemed so people-centered more than God-centered. There's just a lot of ego behind all of the flash that is used to share the message of Christ with this culturally-relevant language that we use now.
Ok, back to the matter at hand - masturbation (and no, that probably won't be the last inappropriate innuendo/pun that I use in this post because frankly, they're too funny to ignore and I'm way too sophomoric not to use them....so I hope it won't rub you the wrong way). The way the interviews work at this church, they fly you in and you check out their worship services over the weekend while getting to know some of their staff. Then on Monday morning, you go through a series of tests (personality, giftedness, even a mini-ACT test). You break for a quick lunch and then it's getting grilled by the panel of staff all afternoon long.
Part of the panel grilling goes like this, "So Joe Candidate, do you think God's given you some gifts to speak/teach/preach? How would you rate yourself?...(Joes grades himself on a 1-10 scale)....Really? Well, you're about to prove just how good you are. Joe, pick a number between one and three....(Joe picks '2')....Two, huh? Okay, each number was a different subject. If you'd have picked '1', you would have chosen Homosexuality; if '3', you would have gotten Breast Augmentation. But you picked '2', which is the subject of Masturbation. So Joe, you've got 10 minutes to put together a 10 minute sermon on Masturbation. At the end of the 10 minutes, you'll pull your presentation out and work it in front of a room of 20-25 staff members and spouses. Good luck."
Here's their idea, the job I was applying for wasn't a preaching job; so if I handled myself too well with this Masturbation topic, then my gift mix would be for preaching and not for this job. They wanted to see me under pressure and uncomfortable while I'm trying to massage a hard message in front of a group of people.
So is this where church staffing interviews have come? When I mix this in with the overall atmosphere of this church, which was filled with beautiful people with