Jumping in the shark tank

I was watching an episode of the ABC TV show Shark Tank recently. The show features entrepreneurs bringing forth business ideas to a panel of four potential investors. The entrepreneurs pitch their ideas, get grilled by the investors, and sometimes make deals.

I had this odd, fleeting thought while watching it. What if clergy appointments worked that way? What if clergy and candidates had to pitch the bishop and cabinet on their prospects for advancing the mission of Jesus Christ?

Of course, this gets complicated pretty fast. Unlike a businesses with a clear bottom line, clergy work does not reduce itself to a single number so well.

And, even as I write, the Eugene Peterson admiring part of my soul is screaming at me for contemplating such thoughts. Okay, not screaming. I don’t think Peterson is prone to that. Sighing in disappointed resignation, perhaps?

Even as I try to bear up under Peterson’s disapproval, though, I recall John Wesley’s ministry. He had pretty clear ideas about the need for preachers to save souls. Our job is not just to preach so many sermons or visit so many widows, but to save as many souls as we can.

I don’t know, but I think John Wesley might approve of a clergy shark tank.

Not that I think I would particularly good at swimming with the sharks.


3 thoughts on “Jumping in the shark tank

  1. I would be jazzed up about the opportunity to pitch ministry ideas, but that’s because my calling is more apostolic than pastoral. I’m much better at starting things than keeping them going.

  2. Our conference has a congregational vitality fund where congregations can request support for ministry ideas that further our UM missions of making disciples who transform for the world. I’m on the committee for my district. While not related to appointments, it is definitely exciting to see the ideas that congregations are dreaming!

  3. I don’t think that JW would want such a “tank” limited to clergy. If you were going to claim the title “Methodist” back in the day, the bar was set pretty high whether laity or clergy.

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