I am Larry David: Good Friday, Weddings, “Is Interim Ministry Biblical?” Edition

My spouse always says to me, “You are Larry David” because of the weird situations in which I often find myself personally, academically, professionally, ethically, vocationally, and pastorally.  I’ve decided to share some of these experiences. 

My Good Friday began with a phone call from a bride for a wedding a couple weeks from now calling to ask me to lower my wedding fee because they found someone willing to officiate their ceremony–using my liturgy, of course–for much less than my typical fee.  This isn’t the first, or even the fifth time, this has happened, it’s kind of common, and I always immediately ask who the other minister is and then remind the beautiful bride that in most cases these ministers who find brides and try to underbid their pastors aren’t legally able to sign wedding licences in Pennsylvania.  It’s not illegal to impersonate a minister in PA, and some weddings have been invalidated because of this and a few counties give pretty strict warnings to couples when they get their wedding license about this trend.  I typically don’t do contracts, I require folks to give a donation to my church, and I generally work by gentlemen’s agreement, so I am, I suppose, exposed to this sort of thing happening.

After I remind the bride of the law, I wish her luck, ask the couple to have the decency not to use the liturgy I worked with them on unless they want to compensate me for the meetings we’ve had, and I hang up the phone.

What most brides don’t realize is that a few of the “wedding ministers” in my area will agree to do weddings with people and then find another couple for the same day and then make them outbid each other for the wedding date.  I know this because freaked-out brides and their parents call me at the last minute looking for a minister, as well, including brides who initially broke a verbal contract with me to go to an underbidding officiant.

I could tell lots of stories of weddings I’ve officiated, and I generally enjoy officiating weddings:  I love the happiness of the event, I love the liturgy of weddings, and I love having the role of the public intellectual and public face of the church in these moments.  It’s good evangelism, and it’s also an OK source of income; I started doing more weddings when my wife was laid off from her job after the 2008 economic collapse.  Wedding money is generally thrown into our giant pit of student loans.  I almost always preach from the Book of Revelation at weddings, I try to bring some theological substance to what is very often an otherwise ritualized act of narcissism.

That said, I also like the unusual requests I get:  “I’m going into labor and we need to get married!”; “Are you available to officiate a wedding at the Chick-Fil-A in Wyomissing?” (my response:  “There’s a Chick-Fil-A in Wyomissing?”); “Have you ever done a skydiving wedding before?”; “Why is it I can’t find a minister to officiate a wedding on Sunday morning?”; “Will you officiate a Jewish wedding, I heard priests are cheaper than Rabbis?”; “We’re both legally married to someone else, can you officiate before we have the divorce papers in-hand?”; “Can you watch someone else (who is not legally able to officiate a wedding) officiate our wedding and sign the legal paperwork for us?”; “Can we barter pay you with something you might like from Kohl’s” (I assume stolen from where the groom works)?  I’ve had checks bounce, weird calls from ex-boyfriends and parents in the middle of the night begging me not to officiate the wedding, I’ve had a gun pulled out in the middle of a ceremony.  Once I showed up to the wedding location  to learn that it was private property and the couple didn’t ask permission of the owner to have a wedding there.  With the increase of Orthodox Christian immigrants in my area, I have been asked on several occasions to officiate weddings for pregnant couples, who for some reason need to be legally married when the baby arrives so that the priest will give them a religious ceremony when the woman is no longer pregnant.

But there have been far more great moments, so I keep doing it, and when weddings are good I really enjoy them.  I have had great experiences officiating military weddings for couples who are displaced from their homes because of their service, and most local pastors won’t officiate weddings for them.  I’ve officiated a wedding for a couple once, and one of them died in an accident a few weeks later, and I learned a lot from this pastoral experience.  Last fall I officated a wedding at my church that had one of the artists from the cable show Jerseylicious doing all of the makeup for the ladies and a fairly famous photographer doing the pictures–I thought that was kind of cool.

*  *  *

I noticed this job ad for a church near me, and I thought I would share.  If you’re interested in applying, click here.

Please make sure you read all of the information thoroughly before contacting us. This is where we stand. We are not here to debate and argue. If you meet these qualifications feel free to contact us. If you fail to meet these qualifications please do not waste our time.

We are currently looking for a Pastor for our church in Coal Township, PA. Currently we hold services once a week at my home with our 6 members with me teaching due to the lack of a Biblically based church in our area. We are looking for a Pastor who is BIBLICALLY QUALIFIED and KING JAMES ONLY! We also need a Pastor who is constantly reading and studying God’s word.

The Biblical qualifications of a Pastor are

Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

1Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

In the qualifications for a Pastor it says he must be the husband of one wife. We believe that divorce is biblically unacceptable. We believe in biblical words such as Pastor, Bishop, Deacon etc. We Reject titles such as Reverend, Doctor, Minister, and Scholar. Reverend is used once in the bible and it is referring to God so unless you’re God… Simply put don’t give yourself a stupid name and we won’t call you by it. We also believe the Pastor MUST currently be raising or have raised Godly children. We currently have our service on Sunday 1-2:30pm, and then after we go Soul winning. We believe door to door Soul winning is VERY IMPORTANT as a church, and that it must be done on a regular basis. And finally we believe that salvation is through faith and faith ALONE! We do not believe in repentance of sins to be saved, or to be a good person, or to go to church. The only repentance (Change) that has to be made is where your faith is. Repentance is not a guilty feeling it is just a change. We believe that the Holy Spirit DOES NOT Convict you of sins! It is NO WHERE in the bible unless you are reading an NIV. Salvation is not about emotion; it is about your FAITH. We also believe once you are saved you are saved FOREVER! 1John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

On the back of our Soul Winning Pamphlet we put what we believe: We believe the King James bible is thee word of God in English. Modern “Translations” remove verses, words, and change the meaning of Gods word. We believe the entire bible from cover to cover including the Old Testament. There has been a change in some of the laws such as the Sabbath, the Passover, and a doing away of the carnal and fleshly ordinances including meats and drinks. However Gods laws of right and wrong still apply therefore murderers, adulterers, kidnappers, sodomites, etc. deserve the death penalty according to God’s word. We believe in Door to Door Soul winning as thee only biblical method to reach the lost. Tracts, Street Preaching, and Life Style Evangelism are all unscriptural and will never work. We believe in the local church as an independent congregation separate from all religious organizations and governmental rules and regulations. We believe in separation from both the world and any one who teaches or believes false doctrine. This includes dress, music, speech, etc. We reject the false teaching of the pre-tribulation Rapture. We believe that Gods people always have and always will go through tribulation. The Great tribulation is not God pouring out his wrath. We Reject ALL forms of Dispensationalism.    We believe that everyone is created equal and that there is no difference between Jew or Gentile, black or white!  We stand firm on God’s word and God’s word only as our final authority in life.

We believe that God put in his word everything we needed to know, and he didn’t write a sequel. We are 100% King James ONLY! We do not consult the History books to see if Man is smarter than God. In addition to this we believe in a single church. No Sunday schools, Nurseries, Youth Groups etc. We also believe Bible colleges, Christian Schools, etc are biblically incorrect. You DO NOT have to be ordained by a bible college to be a Pastor considering it is NO WHERE in the qualifications! Also we believe that the church should not be selling ANYTHING and that includes an Education. Why would it be okay to charge for a “Bible Education” However it is not ok to charge for a church service? Why do you think Jesus threw tables in the temple? TWICE!!!!! We believe the women are to have NO PART in the Teaching at church! A woman is to keep SILENT during the Teaching and Preaching. This DOES NOT forbid a woman from singing.  Women can and should be preaching the Gospel through soul winning, and any chance she can get. She is only forbidden from doing so during church! 1Timothy 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 1Corinthians 14:34 � Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. Revelation 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. We also believe in a literal six days of creation. We reject all forms of theistic evolution, gap theory, day age theory etc. SIX DAYS MEANS SIX DAYS! We also believe the King James is the inspired word of God in English! We do not believe in going back to the Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean, Sand Script, Native American, Cave paintings, or Finger Paintings by children to “interpret” Gods word. God can speak English just fine and since he promised to preserve his word there is no need to go outside the English language to find it.

Once again Do not contact us if you are not interested in the position. If you’re looking for an argument find a tree and maybe you’ll win!

What I find interesting is that this job ad says nothing about what the pastor does–in fact, their ad notes that this is an “interim” pastor position, and I certainly hope they don’t attract anyone pretentious enough to have enrolled in specialized training in interim ministry.  (Is interim ministry Biblical?)  Rather, the church, who demonstrates a sincere, teachable spirit, seeks someone who might think like them to perhaps fold bulletins, etc.  I actually assume this is a group of people who probably schismed off of another church in the area.

11 thoughts on “I am Larry David: Good Friday, Weddings, “Is Interim Ministry Biblical?” Edition

  1. The thing in that ad that leaves me giggling the most is the line about Jesus throwing tables in the temple – TWICE!

    I wonder how many times they think he was born?

  2. I’m also sad to have the subject matter of my fall youth ministry course, “Finger Painting as Exegesis,” impugned…

  3. This is too funny, Chris!!! If I may, let me add to the wedding horrors.
    Me: Hi, this is the pastor calling for you Julia, we need to meet before next week’s wedding.
    Her: Uh, my name’s not Julia.
    Me: Is this Timmy and Julia’s house?
    Her: No, It’s Timmy and Shelia’s house! And I’ll be TALKING to Tim tonight! (BAM!)

  4. I almost always preach from the Book of Revelation at weddings…

    That might explain why William Sonoma sells so many of those sets of seven bowls.

  5. I enjoyed your part about weddings. They are a tangled web…but too enjoy them and for all the reasons you listed. There is something so beautiful about being able to bring two people together and tell the story of the covenant as demonstrated through marriage. I have, however, never had someone ask me to lower my fee or even get me to bargain with them. If they can pay they do, if not…well I’m okay with that if they say something.

    As for the second part…that’s going in the long term file. Pretty great. A non/anti-dispensational KJVO church…wow.

  6. Been stung lots of times with wedding matters (not me so much as the church left holding the bag for a dirty building, etc.). Had a fellow who had just been released from prison ask if he could lip-sync “Love me Tender” as his bride walked down the isle-in all seriousness-and I thought “Jail House Rock” would have been more appropriate. As to the add for the pastor, makes you wonder who the six folks are in the congregation, and who posted the add (the REAL leader of the church). They do have the rapture buis right, however.
    Blessed Easter, Chris! John McNassor

  7. Didn’t Jesus write something in the sand at some point, or am I just imagining this? I can’t think what story it’s connected to, but perhaps it’s Holy Week brain…

    John: The idea of lip-sync-ing “Love Me Tender” is really funny.

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