Monday, January 22, 2007

New Technology Can Super Size Your Pastor

Samantha Tillich, Staff Writer

Church search committees spend months or even years looking for the right match between minister and congregation. A delay in hiring a new pastor can hamper critical ministries and cause turmoil among members. The era of receiving applications and hearing numerous trial sermons, however, may be coming to a close.

The Full Speed Ahead Leadership Group (FSA) has teamed up with the Genzyme Corporation to develop the first genetically modified line of SuperPastors, and their research may reach the market as early as 2010. FSA prepared a list of physical and psychological traits for the perfect minister, and Genzyme’s task is to translate those characteristics into a living, breathing human being.

FSA spokesperson Lily Swenson said the SuperPastor project will change the face of the Christian church’s ministry for the good. “This product will give churchgoers consistent, highly effective leadership and preaching. Within 50 years, every church in America will be able to acquire the type of pastor that only megachurches can afford in today’s economy.”

An FSA press release describes several of the key skills and traits that will be built into every model in the SuperPastor line, including a pleasant speaking voice, empathy, high endurance and the willingness to accept a low salary. Though selection will be limited initially, churches can request a specific gender along with preferences for hair, eye and skin color.

Genzyme will eventually produce many different models, each with a specific orientation, such as Mission, Urban, Suburban and Fortress Mentality. Before committing to a licensing agreement, each church will fill out a survey to identify which model would serve best in that particular setting. Genzyme has also begun work on developing a Youth Pastor model, though efforts in this area have shown far less promise.

Mark Regent, national director of Pastors Anonymous, fears that the new line of SuperPastors will put “natural” ministers at a competitive disadvantage. Regent has filed a lawsuit against FSA and Genzyme to halt production and prevent release of any SuperPastor models.

“These so-called SuperPastors will create cookie cutter churches,” said Regent. "Everything will be the same across the board. Local flavor will disappear entirely, not to mention the threat of greatly reduced genetic diversity among our clergy. A bad year of the bird flu could wipe out 80% of our pastors.”

The bird flu threat is apparently real, Regent asserts, because the scientific process to create a SuperPastor includes inserting pigeon chromosomes into pastoral genes. FSA spokesperson Swenson, however, claims that the process is safe. “The FDA approved the process in 1999. They saw no reason to halt our progress, so I’m not sure why a non-scientist like Regent thinks he knows better.” In addition to the bird chromosomes, Genzyme’s secret, patented process includes a mixture of gene therapy, selective breeding and the lifelong administration of an expensive drug cocktail.

Many rumors have circulated as to the original SuperPastor gene pool. The most common theory is that Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, Willow Creek Community Church pastor Bill Hybels, and Episcopal priest Barbara Brown Taylor provided the original material. Then, after the first trial models, the scientists sought additional gene sequences to fine tune the first true SuperPastors.

So, do you think you might like a SuperPastor at your church? You may already have one! Twelve prototype SuperPastors have been deployed to churches across the country to test effectiveness and reliability. Since these are blind trials, Swenson would not release the names of the churches involved. She did say that apart from one accidental drowning during a baptism, the SuperPastors have performed well.

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Blogger LPC said...

You are kidding right? Is this for real? Well then how come Rick Warren is not in? I will let our congregation know...

8:49 PM  

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