Sunday, February 5, 2012

Resume Cover Letter

Here's why they'll never enlist me to teach anybody how to write cover letters for resumes.

I've been praying for God to send you the right person as a pastor. I do sincerely pray that he will send you as your next pastor someone who is better qualified and more capable than I am. The Lord knows that your church needs just the right man at this sensitive time in your church's life.

Keith Sanders has been my friend since I was twelve years old. Like good friends should, he thinks more highly of me than he ought. It is my understanding that your committee contacted him and asked him for recommendations. He has asked me to send you my resume. It's a little bit out-of-date, but not much, and not in any way that matters much. I hope that it provides you with the information that you need.

I've been at FBC Farmersville for twelve years. Dr Jeremy Roberts, whom you likely know, recently told me, "I suspect that you'll die at FBC Farmersville." I can only hope that he meant that he could see the love that I have for this church and this place, and not that he expected my imminent demise! So, you need to know from the start that, if God should lead me to your church it would absolutely break my heart. I'm praying against it, and that's no joke. We'd start off with both the new church and the new pastor grieving. I hope Jeremy is right and that God leaves me here until a ripe old age.

But, I don't get to make those decisions. As the Kingdom of Heaven goes, I'm in labor, not management. It is God who led me here, and I can only serve at His pleasure. I have a very close friend in Keith, and he's asked me to consider this. He knows me pretty well and he's a godly man. I have to take that seriously. So, I've come up with a compromise: I decided to write the most discouraging email that I could honestly write and then attach my resume to it.

I'm an average preacher at best. I'm passionate about recovering a more meaningful and more closely-connected concept of church membership (see a video about that here), and because of that we're making changes here at FBC Farmersville. You might not be comfortable with those changes. I'm very conservative in my theology. I'm a Southern Baptist because I believe firmly in our historic doctrines. I'm often absent-minded and need a good secretary in order to be competent at all. I'm not the best multi-tasker in the world; I do better if I can focus on something. If you're looking for a high-octane personality who leads quick change and charges right over people, I'm not your guy. I realize that's the style today, but that's not me. A member here once asked me, "Bro. Bart, did you want our church to do this right away, or like a year from now?" I replied, "Mrs. Donna, in my way of thinking, a year from now IS right away."

I wear a suit and tie when I preach. If I didn't, I'm afraid that my mother would find out about it. You'd need to be comfortable with my dressing that way to preach, because that's how I'm comfortable when I preach. I don't require that of anyone else. In fact, you'll see a video of myself and an associate pastor here that shows my attitude on that subject pretty clearly.

Sometimes churches have some sort of a packet that they send out to everybody who sends a resume. If you have one of those, and if you plan to send it to me, please remove from it any information that might at all be related to the pastor's salary. I have been careful in my years of ministry never to know anything about salary information of any church until after reaching a final decision about whether God is calling me there. I don't think that I would make a wrong decision just because of money, but I'd rather avoid the temptation altogether than to find out where my limits are.

The people at FBC Farmersville know every blemish and problem with me, and they love me anyway. I don't keep secrets from them, because they're my family. If you should need to do so, you may contact anybody you want in this church or in this community. They know that I hear from churches on rare occasions (I never have understood why we pretend that church members don't know how this process works), and they're pretty confident that I want to stay right here, so you won't set them off into any sort of a panic.

Wade Burleson, who was at the center of so many controversies in the SBC a few years ago, may not think very highly of me, although I don't want to put words into his mouth. He's the pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, OK. I've also had the occasional bit of tension and disagreement with Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, although he is always a perfect gentleman about it. I recommend that you call them and find out about me in the worst possible light. I'm not saying that these are bad men, but just that they are two men whom I would consider least likely to feel any pressure to make me look good in their descriptions of me.

God's going to do great things in your church. I'm confident about that. I'm praying for you to find the right man, so long as it isn't me. I really mean that: I AM praying for you.

Yours in Christ,
Bart Barber


Pastor Tommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pastor Tommy said...

Nice. That is similar to the response I gave Dr. Patterson when he contacted me concerning the job at Southwestern. Just saying.

Bart Barber said...

The difference, Dr. Kiker, is that Dr. Patterson made you an offer you couldn't refuse. ;-) said...


I can assure you that I think very highly of all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and that most definitely includes you.

FYI, I am at Emmanuel Enid.


Anonymous said...

Not sure a Catholic can put in a good word for someone . . . but it is said in the eastern Church that humility in a ministry can draw thousands to Christ.

Humility can open a space within a person's spirit that makes room for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell with the person.
Such a thing does not happen with the pride-filled.


Bart Barber said...

Oops, Wade. Sorry.

Bart Barber said...

Wade, I made the correction. I'm really sorry about that. I knew what church you were at. I guess I'm proving my point about absent-mindedness.

Bart Barber said...

I'm really embarrassed by that, Wade. That looks really disrespectful to have gotten the church wrong. It was inadvertent. said...

No problem, Bart. I can't count the number of times I've made unintentional mistakes in my writing. No offense taken.

Richmond Goolsby said...

The things that make you make you such a dear friend and effective pastor. Thank you.