How Do I Find A New Pastor?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Jkdbuck76, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76
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    Hello folks.

    Our Pastor told me that he would 99.9% likely be announcing his resignation on February 1st. Our bylaws require 30 days notice.

    As chairman of deacons, it will fall onto me to start a pulpit commitee.

    We are close to Cincinnati, Oh. We are a southern baptist church.

    What do I do (besides ask some of the older deacons what to do)?
     
  2. SBCPreacher

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    Contact your Association for assistance - they're usually pretty good at knowing what to do in these situations.

    PRAY!
     
  3. Trotter

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    ^^^ Ditto, heavy on the prayer.

    Your local association will be a great help to you, providing guidance and assistance, as well as helping you find an interim to fill in. Your local association will also help you to field resumes and will probably be able to give you several to consider.

    The main thing is to be in prayer, and I mean big time. It is too easy to panic and grab the first guy who doesn't claim to be jesus himself, but that is the last thing you and your church need.
     
  4. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    I agree with everything said so far. As soon as it is public you want to make this a matter of prayer throughout the church and you can start praying now. I will say one for you also. As a SBC church your local association and missions director will be a great help to you. Call him right now if you have not already. Believe me, he has been through this about 100 time before (if not more).

    My ministry has involved multiple interim pastorates. It really is my calling so I am passionate about it. No, I am not hunting a job and I live to far from you. But I am a strong believer in finding a good interim to stand in the gap.

    As chairman of the deacons you have a lot of work ahead of you Jkdbuck76.

    You have some short term and long term goals here.

    Short term – you have to keep the church going. You know that is a lot harder than it sounds. I don’t know how large your church is but a lot of eyes are going to turn to you now. The pulpit has to stay filled every week (better be ready to step in yourself if you have to). Sunday School still needs to be taught, people still need to be visited. There is of course no way for you to do it all, delegate, but follow up and keep people accountable.

    Why is he leaving? You better know the answer to that. If there are internal problems associated with this you need to jump on them fast.

    Without a pastor most churches will stop growing and begin to shrink. You can prevent that but you must be quick and decisive in your actions. The gospel still needs to be preached and souls led to Christ.

    I would advise establishing at least two new committees, a pulpit committee and a search committee. If you can make these completely separate. The pulpit committee’s job is to keep the pulpit filled. That is it, they may eventually get an interim pastor to fill that job on a regular basis. They are not looking for a pastor, just someone to preach this weak. The search committee is different, they are concerned with the long term.

    Long term – finding the next man God has called to lead your congregation. First thing to do here is read your bylaws. Find out what your procedure is for calling and approving a candidate. You don’t want to wait until you have found him before you realize that it takes a super majority vote to approve him. I served one church once where the bylaws specified that a prospective pastor must have a 90% approval vote. We brought in 3 different candidates that all got a majority but could not pull the 90%.

    Your search committee needs to start evaluating candidates but they need to know what to look for first. Once you have the committee have an open meeting with the membership to discuss it. Give everyone a voice. The make up of your committees is important. I would approve the make up with your deacon board but I would not have the entire committee made up of deacons. I would include at least one woman and at least one member under 25. Everyone who is a member of this church deserves to be represented and listened to.

    Once that is done your search committee needs to write up a formal job description. What are your expectations as a church for your pastor? How many hours a week do you expect him to work? What responsibilities and authority will be his vs the deacon board? What are your expectations as far as visitation? What do you want as far as experience and education? What are you willing to pay? You can’t just wing it and make this stuff up as you go. The search committee needs to know what to look for and candidates need to know what they are getting into. Upfront honest communication prevents a lot of heartache!
     
  5. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Well that other post was too long so I broke it up (like that matters).

    Once you know what to look for your search committee can start evaluating candidates. There will be many and most you can rule out almost immediately. Trust me you will know. This activity needs to be bathed in prayer. If it were me, I would have a special prayer meeting with your search committee, all the deacons, and anyone else who wants to attend. I would invite your interim if you have one already and your association director. I would take each member of your committee and lay hands on them. I would anoint them if you do that, and pray for them that God’s spirit will lead and direct them in this important task. You need the Holy Spirit’s help. You also want to impress on your committee how important this is and that they have your support and confidence.

    Once they have a candidate in mind they need to hear them preach. If they can send a tape, listen to that first. Then the committee should go hear him preach somewhere else. If the candidate does not have a current ministry a sister church can help here. Then if they pass those two hurdles you can bring them in to preach in your church. I would let them preach at least two weeks and have at least one fellowship meal where you can get to know him in a more relaxed setting.

    Then call for a vote. The candidate should not be there the Sunday of the vote. Someone else should preach that Sunday and then you can have a business meeting and vote. I would do it on Sunday morning that is your best attendance. I would avoid a night or mid week vote, that limits the members who are there.

    A couple things I would avoid. First, don't bring in multiple men at a time. Bring in one man, evaluate him. If he does not work then move on to another. Second, don't bring someone in to your pulpit you have not listened to and fully vetted first. Lots of potential problems there.

    Well those are my thoughts; feel free to send me a note if you want to talk about this more. I have helped churches through this several times and was greatly blessed each time.
     
    #5 North Carolina Tentmaker, Jan 15, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2009
  6. Revmitchell

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    Check Ebay
     
  7. webdog

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  8. Salty

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    Do not say anything to anyone else until he make the official announcement, especially if you were the only one he told. Unless you have his specific permission.

    The other posts gave excellent advice. Please do not rush into any one man. I find it a good ideal to have a prospect preach am and pm as well as teach the adult SS. In the afternoon, have a dinner on the ground (though I prefer tables :laugh: ) and this will give the members time to ask him and his wife questions, not only theology - but any and everything (within somewhat reasonable)

    Is he KJO, demand dresses only on women, his relationship with deacons, support of the SBC, CCM,...
     
  9. abcgrad94

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    Just few tips we've learned while dh was candidating:

    If you do ask the wife questions, make sure they are aimed at getting to know her as a person and not what she can do for your church, as if you are basing your decision on a 2-for-1 deal. Telling a candidate you're looking for a pastor whose wife will play the piano or teach grade 10 history in your Christian school is a big turn off. I was once even asked if I could cut hair, because a church's former pastor's wife was a beautician who cut their hair and they didn't want to lose that convenience! ( I told 'em no, unless they wanted to get scalped!:saint: )

    The questions you ask the candidate will tell what's most important to you. We had one church ask all about Bible versions and divorce, but didn't care to ask our personal testimony.

    I also agree with the advice, one man at a time. Don't interview someone and tell them you'll keep looking around and maybe "get back to them later." That translates as "we're looking for someone with more to offer us than you, but if we don't find him, we'll call you later." It's not fair to keep the candidate in limbo like that.

    Last but not least, if you do call a candidate to speak some Sunday, put them up in a place where they can have some privacy, like a motel room or empty home where they can relax and discuss their impressions of the church with each other privately. It's stressful on a wife to feel like she and her children are on display in somebody else's home, especially if the children are young and need to run and play after a long drive.

    Just my $.02.
     
  10. Salty

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    abc, I would say that you advice is worth about 2 million dollars!

    Salty

    Ps, I interviewed one pastor once whose testimony was " I joined the navy, got into drugs and then the Lord saved me from drugs".
    oh boy:tear:
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    Good stuff so far. I've served on two search committees, and learn something new every time. I've even tucked away some of North Carolina Tentmaker's ideas, and plan to steal them for use in the future.

    One other thing our committee learned. Don't get so involved in the nuts and bolts without that you de-emphasize the spiritual dimension.

    Our five member committee were obsessed with finding God's man for our church. We agreed that we would act only with a unanimous committee vote. This give each member basically veto power. We reasoned that that Holy Spirit would guide all of us, and not just four or three of us.

    On a ten-member or 15-member committee that might mean gridlock. But for us, it proved to be good. God blessed it.

    Be patient. You are operating on God's time. The two committees I've served on took a year each time.

    Also, don't leave your candidates hanging. When you receive a resume, respond immediately either in writing (snail mail/e-mail) or by phone. Give in information about the church, find out his current compensation package if he's willing to tell you; ask for an audiocassette or DVD of one of his sermons. Request a doctrinal statement in writing.

    Once you have eliminated a candidate, tell him immediately in writing that the Lord has led in another direction. If one or more candidates attract your interest, write those you haven't yet eliminated and tell them where you are, and ask for patience.

    Once you have decided on the candidate you will recommend to the church, write the other candidates and tell them and thank them for their patience. Don't leave them out there without contact regularly.

    There are publications around with helps for search committees. Lifeway Christian Resoures probably has some, or maybe you nearest Christian book store.
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    I just thought of this.

    If you're new to a search committee go find a veteran pastor and ask him how he would want to be treated by the committee. It will help avoid mistakes in protocol.

    Wish I'd thought of it when I was on the search committee.
     
  13. Joseph M. Smith

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    I am serving as an interim pastor right now ... have been for about 16 months. The search committee is about ready to present the candidate. They followed a procedure that I wrote/compiled for them, and I would be happy to share it with you or with anyone on the Baptist Board who may need something like that. I am reluctant to attach it ... think it might better be sent one person at a time.
     
  14. Jim1999

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    Are you trying to tell me that I was tossed about like that each time I went to a new church?

    If I had known in advance, I would have chosen architecture. It paid better!

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  15. Jkdbuck76

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    wOW. 16 months. this could take a while....

    If you wouldn't mind, please email to me at [email protected]

    I have preached in the pulpit in the past. I can fill in maybe two sundays per month until they roll the candidates in.
    The people at our congregation don't want to change how church has been done for the past 70 years. I agree with the current Pastor (who is a personal friend as well....we grew up in the same city) that our church needs to set some goals for evangalization/outreach and growth. His frustration is that nobody but the deacons are behind it. After he presented his plan for the church, it turned into a real gripe fest.

    He also changed the order of the service.....putting the collecting of tithes and offerings and the singing of "happy birthday" and "happy anniversary" at the END of the service instead of at the beggining!!!! THAT right there cause more of a ruckus than anything. He moved it because during the happy b-day/anniversary and tithes, people are LOUD and jabber during the whole time. I've experienced it when I was in the pulpit. It interferes with his worship.

    In any case, after he presented his plan, the "bring the happy b-day/anniversary/tithes collecting at the beginning of the service" faction griped about the above thing. One woman said "let's take a vote right now to move them back to the beginning".

    To which our Pastor replied "this is not a business meeting. And as long as I'm the Pastor here, we're keeping it the way I have changed it because the old way interferes with my worship and with that of others."

    I'm walking into a mess. So yes, I can understand how this process needs to have tons of prayers behind it.

    And I'm holding you my brothers and sisters accountable for prayer. I'm in over my head, but for some reason I think that God is right now preparing me for this. I can't explain it.
     
    #15 Jkdbuck76, Jan 16, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2009
  16. Joseph M. Smith

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    I will send you my paper. But I have a couple of comments:

    1. Sixteen months, with the likelihood now of two more before the call and move process is finished, is not extraordinarily long. This is my seventh interim pastorate. The shortest was three months, and the longest 27 months. This process must not be hurried, or else you will find yourself with somebody who just does not fit or understand the context.

    2. It feels to me as though you must move with all deliberate speed to secure an interim pastor. Your original suggestion was to separate out two different committees, one for pulpit supply and interim pastor and the other for a search committee. That's good. The supply/interim committee needs to get going now. You cannot do this; you are too involved with the present conflict. You will not have the "outsiderness" to say and do what needs to be said and done in this conflicted situation.

    3. It certainly is customary that the pastor have charge of the order of worship; can it be redesigned through a workshop within the deacons, maybe with somebody who could lead them in a process of learning about how worship takes place and what it is intended to do? If this were my charge, I too would move the "happy ..." songs. I would move them right out the door. They do not belong as a part of a worship experience that should be centered on God and not feel-good stuff.

    Look for my paper momentarily.
     
  17. Jkdbuck76

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    Please forgive me: I am the victim of a public education. I do not understand what you mean here.
     
  18. Joseph M. Smith

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    Well, don't blame your public education. Blame mine. Kentuckian, you know.

    I am saying that an effective interim pastor is usually someone from outside the congregation who does not have to "play nice" with troublesome members, who has the courage and the objectivity to counsel them what to do and how to do it without fearing for his job or worrying about whether they will like him. None of that is a license to be nasty for the interim pastor, but it just means that someone from inside the congregation is not likely to get away with leading the changes that are needed.

    For example, in the church I am now serving, I found that the Church Council was defunct, two key committees were not even staffed, and the constitution needed revision. I was able to get that all under way, but an insider like yourself probably would meet resistance. You know how they say an expert is an ordinary guy with a briefcase?
     
  19. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    Throw in a British accent and you can charge twice as much :)
     
  20. Jim1999

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    In English we define an expert as: x-the letter of unknown quantity, and, Spurt, a drip under pressure. In an English accent that says, An expert is an unknown drip under pressure.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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