A strong team can take any crazy vision and turn it into reality. John Carmack
As many of you suspect, I am a fan for Scot McKnight who has a blog called Jesus Creed. According to Wikipedia:
Scot McKnight (born November 9, 1953) is an American New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity, theologian, and author who has written widely on the historical Jesus, early Christianity and Christian living. He is currently Professor of New Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, IL. McKnight is an ordained Anglican with anabaptist leanings, and has also written frequently on issues in modern anabaptism.
McKnight was the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University from 1994 to 2012. Prior to joining the NPU faculty in 1994, he was a professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
McKnight is a prolific author, and has written more than fifty books. One of his most popular books, The Jesus Creed, won the Christianity Today book award for 2004 in the area of Christian living, and has spawned a number of popular small group studies and a DVD series.
McKnight’s blog, Jesus Creed (formerly hosted by Beliefnet and now by Patheos) is currently one of the most popular Evangelical blogs online.[6
From his bio on Jesus Creed:
Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author or editor of some seventy-five books, is the Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lisle, IL. Dr. McKnight has given interviews on radios across the nation, has appeared on television, and is regularly speaks at local churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries in the USA and abroad. Dr. McKnight obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham (1986) and has been a professor for more than three decades.
Scot McKnight is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Society for New Testament Studies.
He wrote a post which nailed the problems inherent in the Willow Creek system: Willow Creek, What’s a Pastor?
The design of God for all of us is to be “co-morphed” into his Son’s very image. I call this Christoformity, a slightly more accurate expression than “Christlikeness.” Conformity to Christ, co-morphing into Christ is Christoformity.
If this is God’s design for us, then this is absolutely the design of the pastoral calling. Pastors first and foremost are called to pastor people toward Christoformity.
…So, two big ideas: pastors pastor people, and pastors pastor people by nurturing Christoformity.
There is not the slightest hint that Willow Creek’s pastor job description comprehends this as the central shaping vision for the pastor they want. Besides being the one and only pastoral search description I have ever seen that does not state that its pastor is to match up favorably with the elder/bishop list of the 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (or Titus 1:7-9) and besides not having anything along the line of the pastoral ends/goals, the job description focuses on the very culture formed under Bill Hybels. That is, a culture in which the pastor is an entrepreneurial leader who expands the Willow Creek brand.
I think you will find much to discuss in this ad. Terms such as “leader of leaders,” “high capacity men and women,” a caster of vision” and one who can “dream” caused me to wonder if they are looking for a pastor or a shaman.
The Senior Pastor will lead and serve the Willow Creek Community Church at all its locations to become a thriving, healthy family of local churches. This man or woman will provide overall leadership and vision for the entire network of regional campuses. They will ensure Willow Creek’s vision and strategy is clear and understood across all locations, that the right leaders are leading and serving the campuses, and that Willow Creek is positioned for strength well into the future.
The Senior Pastor will have the ability to dream and cast vision for the next season of congregational life and community impact. The ideal candidate will demonstrate spiritual leadership, an authentic walk with Jesus, and a proven commitment to balancing the rhythms of work and life. He or she will be a proven “leader of leaders” who can motivate and inspire high-capacity men and women to use their gifts to further the vision.
I urge you to carefully read all the incredible gifts that this pastor must embody. I’m beginning to wonder if they should require an MBA and six years on Wall Street after a fun-filled summer as a casting director for DisneyWorld.
In response, McKnight begins to tease out the concerns after attempting to be both kind and fair. He is obviously a nicer person than I. Remember, this job description is coming in response to the heart wrenching firing of Bill Hybels for long term accusations of sexual abuse.
- First, no Jesus, no Christ, no Bible, no gospel — that is, in the main words. They are buried into tiny words or they are not there. Amazing. Jesus appears twice. Christ once. God four times. Bible not at all. Gospel not at all.
- This is an advertisement seeking someone who can carry on the Willow Creek brand.
- Third, the biggest two words of substance in the job description’s Word Cloud are “pastor” and “leadership.” Leadership is hardly a significant term in the NT for the calling of pastors.
- Fourth, Willow Creek wants a leader who is both theologically grounded and (or but) that person does not need a theological degree. That’s a very very rare combination. So rare that this Willow Creek job description is stomping recklessly on thin ice.
He has a great way with words.