He had multiple interviews with the church nominating committee, he preached for the congregation, he went through the excruciating congregational vote. Finally, he met with a clearance committee from his denomination.
A Pastor from the Committee said, “You have a blog.”
“Yes,” Pastor Friend answered.
“Well, that could be a problem,” Committee Pastor continued, “Some of your opinions are ‘out there.’ And you need to gain trust with your congregation. In order to do that, you really shouldn’t tell a congregation your opinion on anything for at least the first three years of your ministry.”
I have friends whom have been placed in this situation themselves, who are cautioned about blogging candor and their pastorates. Some have had the matter discussed by the Associate Pastor Nominating Committees they related to, whose members weren’t sure whether they wanted a blogging pastor, only to report to me that their lead pastor already blogs (albeit anonymously).
This is so so different from the posture that others take, such as Bruce Reyes-Chow. Bruce, who was elected Moderator of the General Assembly this summer, has a policy of transparency and openness.
I think this posture makes for healthier relationships, but it requires some skill and wisdom on the part of the blogging pastor. Not everything ought to be published on a personal blog; discretion is called for, certainly, and I’m certain that Bruce has it in spades. But not so others I know of.
The notion that someone should hold-back whom they really are, for three years, as an effort to build trust doesn’t make any sense to me. That doesn’t necessarily mean that one should broadcast their innermost thoughts to the world, willy-nilly, but something about the advice to this pastor is really off.
So there’s a certain something that is required for pastors who blog, and who do so transparently. I just hope that I’ve got it…
Carol has a healthy discussion going about this over at her post…
Thoughts? Offer them there or here, please!