Dr. Moore tweeted over the weekend that his home church, Highview Baptist, just announced that their pastor search committee was unanimously recommending Dr. Les Hughes as their next "senior pastor". The webpage of Highview gives an overview of his background....
Senior Pastor, Westwood Baptist Church (December 2000-present)
Chairman, Dept. of Christian Studies and Philosophy/Head of Church Relations, Mississippi College
(August 1996-December 2000)
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Summit, MS (1993-1996)
Senior Pastor, Crystal Springs Baptist Church, Tylertown, MS (1991-1993)
Senior Pastor, Mountain Creek Baptist Church, Florence, MS (1986-1991)
Bachelor of Arts in Religion
Mississippi College (Clinton, MS), 1989, With Honors
Master of Divinity (Biblical Languages)
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 1991
Doctor of Philosophy (New Testament/Greek)
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 1994
Wow! That is quite an impressive list of credentials. No doubt he is a great guy, very smart, an accomplished deliverer of sermons. He has been married for over 25 years and has four children. By the description above, this is a family man, an accomplished minister, an author, in short a man that any church should love to have leading them. So what is the issue, why blog about this?
Highview Baptist is in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Hughes is from Mississippi and has served in churches in Mississippi and Alabama and was educated in Mississippi and Louisiana. That raises a question for me. How well does the Pastor Search Committee know Dr. Hughes? I am sure they have had several formal interviews and informal conversations. They have no doubt heard him give many sermons. I would hope they have met his wife and family a time or two. Does that really tell you who a man is? I have been interviewed lots of times for jobs and I almost always am on my "A" game, dressed properly, etc. An interview, even a series of interviews, doesn't tell you much about who I am.
What about the rank and file "laity" at Highview? They will be asked to vote to accept Dr. Hughes as their chief elder, or "senior pastor". They will be asked to submit to his authority and put money in the plate to pay his salary. Yet I doubt that many of them have even met Dr. Hughes and if they have it is probably not much more than a meet and greet. How can they know that this man is someone they should imitate and follow other than based on the recommendation of the "pastor search committee"? Again, let me be clear that I have little doubt that Dr. Hughes is a wonderful man, father and husband, someone who is committed to following Christ. My point is that there simply is no way for the members of Highview to know enough about him to warrant following him as an elder.
A stranger cannot be a leader in the church. An impressive resume, even being a great guy, cannot substitute for the experience of living lives together and recognizing in a brother the qualities that make him an elder in the church. We need to get back to the Biblical model of Home Grown Elders, following men we know instead of getting to know men we are supposed to be following.