Thursday, May 8, 2014

National Church League Mock Draft

Reposted from previous. The following is intended as agenda-free parody to commemorate the NFL Draft, taking place tonight. All names and stories portrayed are fictional and any similarity to actual persons or events is coincidental. 

Annually, late April and May is an exciting time for all churches in the U.S. It’s right after Lenten season and it’s the time when most seminaries are having their graduation ceremonies and sending a plethora of promising talent into the ministry market. Many commentators have been weighing in, but here is my guess as to how the top recruiting churches will partake of the upcoming draft.

No. 1 Pick - Maplestream Community Church -  John Patterson, Senior Pastor
(Stott Seminary)
This pick is almost obvious. Maplestream is recovering from a rough year. Their previous senior pastor left to serve as a missionary trainer in Uganda, but unfortunately the rest of the staff has been struggling to properly restructure. The well-known megachurch dropped its attendance by 30% in 8 months. Most would be surprised if they didn’t utilize their awarded top pick on Patterson. Unlike a lot of recent seminary graduates, Patterson enters the ministry market for the second time. He’s a good exegetical communicator and an experienced shepherd, and has led a few church plants and small, sometimes dysfunctional churches for 25 years and has just finished his formal education, magna cum laude. Add to that the fact that Patterson has background in the metropolitan area where Maplestream resides. A minor question mark is if he can handle a megachurch.
No. 2 Pick - West Bluff Church - Devin Castigliano, Worship Arts Pastor
(Wyclif Divinity School)
West Bluff is trying to end the plateauing period of what was once impressive growth in membership. Rumor has it that the elders and the program staff have been frequently talking about the strong possibility of venue services. Castigliano finished his MDiv while serving as a top Associate Worship Leader at Benchmark (a venue service church) under the mentorship of the well-known Josh Rafael, and he has the qualifications and experience to oversee multiple services. However, Castigliano’s skills could be rendered useless if the West Bluff leadership decides to remain with its “blended services” approach (which is not arguably efficacious in West Bluff’s context) or if the current worship leaders can accept his oversight.
No. 3 Pick - Elk Path Baptist Church - Ryan Britten, Youth Pastor
(Edwards Seminary)
The membership of Elk Path went down, mostly estimated due to the absence of a strong Christian education program for teens and young adults. If Britten is drafted, he would be Elk Path’s first youth pastor. Britten only has part-time experience (though significant) under his belt, but he showed great skills, promise and humility at the scouting combine. The question on the minds of most commentators is if Elk Path’s leadership is expecting the “attraction model” (now being reevaluated by bloggers), because Britten will probably bring something else.
No. 4 Pick - The bridgeCROSSing - Phineas Murphy, Lead Pastor
(San Luis Obispo Theological Seminary)  
The bridgeCROSSing is the latest addition to a fast-growing church planting movement in the Portland area, started by pastor/author Kyle McLellan. Unfortunately, two of Portland’s well-known companies had to make a lot of layoffs that same month, diverting the attention McLellan and other leaders from helping bridgeCROSSing during its public launch, including the appointment of a lead pastor. The bridgeCROSSing has been having only intermittent growth while juggling guest preachers, so Murphy, with his education, experience and West Coast background, is an apparent-best pick for this leader-less church with potential.
No. 5 Pick - Woodfield Bible Church - Jeff Gundersen, Executive Pastor
(Kletos Seminary)
While the senior pastor at Woodfield Bible is an educated and charismatic visionary, the church has mostly plateaued in its membership and struggled financially and organizationally since their relocation to a newly-built facility. Gundersen, arguably, has the most eye-catching testimony of all the draft picks: a successful CEO, who stepped down after his conversion and felt call into ministry, he’s been well-funding ministries and charities all across New England. If he’s Woodfield Bible’s first Executive Pastor, there’s no doubt he would help to get things in order and add to the community. There is question, though, what his job description would be, including in relation to the senior pastor, his younger superior. There’s also been talk of Woodfield Bible trading down.