As you well know, the school calendar is rapidly drawing to a close and a new class of rookies is set to graduate from the nation’s seminaries. As the annual rookie draft approaches, I’ve scoured the ranks of young men, have spoken to the scouts, have attended the combine and have interviewed many of the candidates. And now I share the fruit of all this labor and provide my thoughts on how this year’s draft will shape up.
Comparison: John Piper
McNamarra is set to graduate from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is projected to be first in his class. If, as is expected, he is chosen first overall, he will be the first SBTS rookie drafted first overall since the great Lloyd Johnson in ‘86. McNamarra is the complete package with remarkable charisma and delivery skills coupled with sound theology and great skills in the original languages. As a summer intern at Second Baptist Church of Puget Sound, he preached an outstanding alliterative 12-part exposition of John 1:1. A scout we spoke with said “McNamarra is a can’t miss prospect. He’s the crown jewel of this draft. Expect him to go first.” We’ll be amazed if he doesn’t.
Comparison: Alistair Begg
Moore is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia who was drafted late in the first round of last year’s draft but held out when he could not work out an adequate contract with First Baptist Church of Springfield. He elected to return to the draft this year and, with a year of practice, promises to be taken even higher this year.
Moore’s weight has proven a challenge throughout his seminary career and he struggles to maintain an ideal preaching weight, especially after a year of relative inactivity. Because of associated image and health concerns, this may cause some churches to take a pass on a man who may otherwise be a rising star.
Comparison: Phil Ryken
Long considered an outstanding prospect, Longman recently suffered a much-publicized injury to his right arm (which, as a right-handed man, is his preaching arm). This injury has plagued him during recent preaching engagements and scouts in attendance noticed the negative impact on his ability to gesticulate and be physically expressive. He is currently in physical therapy but there is some talk that he may not be able to recover and may even have to look at converting to left-handed preaching. Still, his natural ability is remarkable and we would be surprised to see him fall out of the top ten. Some church will be willing to take a chance on this young star.
Position: Worship Leader
Comparison: Clayton Erb
William is a pure baritone with the ability to provide a rich falsetto. Formerly a hip-hop recording artist under the name of Willy-Fee, William is widely regarded as the best available worship leader in this year’s draft. With perfect pitch and proficiency in a wide variety of stringed and brass instruments, Ferguson is a man capable of revolutionizing a church’s music program. One scout was heard to say, “Is there anything this guy can’t do?” Though he is not a prolific songwriter, he is extremely adept at remixing the work of other artists. We expect to hear a lot about this young man as he grows and matures.
Position: Youth Pastor
Comparison: Rick Holland
Kent, a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary, is sometimes called “Rotund Rick,” because of the comparisons he draws to Rick Holland of Grace Community Church (comparisons that are based on style and personality rather than physical characteristics). Plummer recently authored a book entitled Youth Ministry Done Right and has headed up the “Done Right!” youth conference since 2004. He is likely to find himself at a church with a declining youth ministry but with an increasing number of young people. He’ll be expected to revolutionize the youth program and it seems that he is capable of doing just that.
Position: Administrative Pastor
Formerly an accountant, Williams retrained as a minister and is about to graduate from Westminster Theological Seminary in California. Williams is projected to be chosen early in the draft and is expected to wind up at a large church in desperate need of administrative assistance. He proved his mettle while in seminary, completely reorganizing and re-indexing the entire library over the course of a long weekend. A dual threat, Williams is a capable preacher who can pick up relief duties for a Senior Pastor when necessary.
Position: Worship Leader
Comparison: Bob Kauflin
Because of his propensity for raising his hands during worship (and encouraging others to do the same), many think that Wells will find himself drafted to a Sovereign Grace church rather than a Baptist congregation. Tall, thin and and lanky, Wells is most at home playing the guitar, though he is also capable enough on the piano or the drum kit. At the recent combine, he led the field in composing a complete song in just fourteen minutes. We expect him to be chosen second only to William Ferguson, though in just the right situation he could even go first.
(OK, so this is one of those things that sounded a lot funnier in my head. I got to thinking one day, “I wonder what it would be like if churches drafted pastors like sports teams draft players?” I wrote some things down, but forgot about it until this morning while I was waiting for a meeting at a local coffee hangout. Like I said, it was funnier in my head. Ah well. You win some and you lose some!)