I’ve heard a few people half-jokingly refer to the Ministry Site Profile (https://www.rmselca.org/congregations-transition) as our dating profile. This is worth a chuckle, and I decided to give it more thought. I’ve observed a handful of couples whose relationships began with online profiles (I once met both halves of a match in towns 570 miles apart before eHarmony set them up and they eventually married!), and I’ve dabbled in the world of algorithmic matchmaking myself in the past. Therefore I’m marginally qualified to share this listicle on finding a pastor and online dating.
1. Ask yourself why you're filling out the profile.
Is there a creative dating solution you haven’t considered? Are we in a place to search for a match? Do we have the time, money, and motivation to search for and start a new (pastoral) relationship? Are you looking for something part-time, a casual fling, or something more stable? Some of these types of questions have been inherently answered by our initiation of the call process, but they’re worth keeping in mind throughout. Online dating works best when you know who you are and what you’re looking for.
2. Make it creative.
If you want to write a boring profile, stick with a few lines about how you’re laid back, like to spend time with friends and family, and enjoy adventure. Get into some details: Where do you like to go on adventures? What kinds of things make you laugh when you’re out with your friends? What is unique about our ministry context? What needs exist in our community?
3. Don’t stop loving the world around you.
It’s easy to get caught up in the search, but don’t stop engaging with all the really neat people you already know! You could miss out on meeting someone great who lives across town. Or not notice an opportunity to join the ministry of a local organization you haven’t checked out yet. Dating profiles work better when you can write about what you’re doing now, and not just that one cool thing from five years ago.
4. “Christ’s Church: Better Together!”
The visit by Pastor Leslie and Janet Philipp last Sunday makes me think that maybe the Ministry Site Profile isn’t at all like an online dating profile. I attended the Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly this spring as a voting member from Prince of Peace, and we must have heard Bishop Gonia say “Christ’s Church: Better Together!” at least 20 times. The Rocky Mountain Synod does a lot to embody this theme. We heard stories about congregations building relationships with other people in their communities, global partnerships where our partner ministries across the world are doing good work, and a congregation giving back a small piece of tribal land in urban Colorado (we were exhorted by Rev. Dr. Tink Tinker to do this more often). Our congregation, our synod, the ELCA, our ecumenical partners, and the whole Christian church are better together. We don’t write our profile alone. Unless you’re in the habit of enlisting the help of 50 friends and family to help write your profile, the (admittedly tongue-in-cheek) analogy falls apart. We have the guidance and prayers of the Synod, God in our midst, and the leadership of the congregational council and Pastor Teri. We are the Beloved of Christ whether or not we find a match.
Living God, you have called us be the conduits for grace and healing in this community. Strengthen the witness of this congregation and help us to better see the needs of our community. Give wisdom to those called to lead your church and be with those discerning a call to congregational leadership.
This blog is run by the council members of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Logan, UT. For more information, check out our church's website at princeopeace.org.