Pastor search commitees

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by flossbling, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. flossbling

    flossbling
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    First of all I would like to introduce myself as this is my first post. My name is Shanon (I'm male), I'm 36 and married with 2 kids, and on Aug 22 of last year I gave my heart and life to Jesus. So, here I am just over a year later and I've been given the awesome responsibility of being part of our pasor search committee. We have been at it for just about a month now and actually got a chance to meet with a gentleman last night who we believe to be a very strong candidate. I was hoping to get some advice and maybe some questions to ask possible candidates from any of you that may or may not have experience with search committees.
     
  2. Mexdeaf

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    Welcome!

    The most important doctrinal question you must ask them is:

    "Did Adam have a bellybutton?"

    Now seriously, you might do a search on the pastor's forum below and find some pertinent material. Prayer is the most important thing for all concerned.
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    Is your church basically conservative, liberal or somewhere in between? You'll want a pastor who's compatible.

    Let's assume you're conservative. The first question should be, "what is your view of scripture and its reliability for faith and practice. The answer you're looking for is "I believe in an inerrant scripture." If you don't get that answer straight out, ask the question.

    Assuming your candidate is doctrinally sound, you'll want to ask him about his view of the relationship between pastor and deacons, pastor and staff, and pastor and members. Of course, your committee will have to know how the church sees such relationships.

    And this may be the hardest thing to do of all. I chaired two search committees, and we agreed that we would require a unanimous vote on everything we did. We believed that if we earnestly sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit, He would guide all of us, not some of us. And He would guide us all in the same direction.

    That's a very high threshold, and it tested our committee. We dropped pursuit of one candidate because one member had doubts. His one vote stopped the majority. The majority really liked the candidate. But we reminded ourselves that we were also operating on a spiritual level as well as a practical level.

    When the committee finally was able to agree on a candidate to recommend to the church, it was quite liberating.

    That'll have to be a committee decision. If you go unanimous, would you want the congregation to do the same? Probably not.

    The church must decide what kind of majority vote it requires. Would you call a pastor with a 51% yes vote? About about 2/3rds? 75%?

    Would a pastor candidate say yes to a 75% vote, knowing 25% of the members voted against him? I've know a couple of pastors who said they'd wouldn't come to a church with less than a 95% vote.

    Well, these are just some ideas to consider. I'm sure you have some veterans on the search committee who've been through this before. As a rookie, you can look to them to help you.
     
  4. Salty

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    I trust you have seen his resume?

    Be sure to check all references - and then ask each of those references to give you three additional reference's - and then do that one more time. Reason - 3 x removed will give you a good indication

    Ask if you can do a criminal background - if he says no - red flag

    If he is currently pastoring another church - you and one other should visit that church unannounced - to get an ideal of how things are.

    Asked for a detailed doctrine statement. The committee should meet with him first to find any obvious doctrine statements.

    Of course the first question should be - tell us about your salvation experience. One candidates answer was "I joined the Navy, got on drugs, and the Lord saved me". Red flag.

    After passing the committee, the entire church membership should have an opportunity to converse with the candidate. Questions should include everything from how often communion is served, to order of service, youth programs, ect. ( ask some friends from other churches about some issues - those would make great questions)
    Ask about his thoughts on church associations - how involved to be with others......

    also have your church membership list, church budget (including major debts) ect....


    EDIT TO WHAT TOM SAID
    As far as what % is needed to call a pastor - say its 75% and the vote is 89%. I would recommend that the church take a second vote to ask for a unanimous decision - In essence the pastor will be given a call - and the purpose of the second vote is to allow those voting no to give a vote of confidence to the potential new pastor.
     
    #4 Salty, Nov 17, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2012
  5. Jack Matthews

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    I've served on just one. What we learned was that we wasted a lot of time looking through piles of resumes before all of the personal agendas got out of the way. Once we prayed, and God moved those things out of the way, the path became pretty clear. Once we felt comfortable with a list of qualifications and requirements we felt God was showing us our church needed in a pastor, the committee actually had common agreement on three men we pulled out of a pile of 350 resumes, and calling one was relatively easy.
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    A pastoral search committee is a pretty tremendous task for any church to take on and one that is crucial for their next steps together.

    There are a couple of good books out there to help you frame questions and expectations.

    Questions, for me, of a prospective staff member are about 50% information about a ministry area and 50% just hearing responses and reactions. Tell us a bit more about your church (size, history, and style) because that will probably dictate some of these questions.

    Background, experience, nature of vision, understanding of leadership are all important. Anybody can fake a theological or doctrinal paper. I've seen it first hand.

    Maybe another point, this is a bit rambly sorry, is whether the committee is ready for a candidate to interview them as well.
     
  7. 12strings

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    I have been on the recieving end (being interviewed), and I would say to make sure you ask negativ questions in addition to positive: "What are some weaknesses that you recognize in yourself." You want a humble man, but not one who is unnecessarily introspective to the point of always beating himself up...that gets old really fast. You want a man who "gets" the gospel down deep in his soul, that it gives him a humble confidence.

    I would also say that one of the best things the church interviewing me did, was to have an open Q&A session that any members could attend. (this would be after the search committee had cleared him, and in a very large church may not work so well.)

    I have also been asked about my relationship with my wife/kids, If the man is old/young, see how he relates to people on the opposite end of the spectrum. Some young people are dismissive of old people, and vise-versa.
     
  8. saturneptune

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    I have never served on a search committee, but Brother Tom Butler has. The last time, there were five, and they made an agreement that all five would agree on any name brought forward to the church for a vote. It worked out fairly well, as our present pastor has been here about twelve years. He is a very loving, humble type person, and provides excellent leadership through the Lord. Unless the issue was in the area of being unBiblical, we as a church express our opinions, take a vote, and go on from there. We are blessed to have a pastor and deacons that believe in serving. I can honestly say I do not believe we have any cliques or centers of power.

    As far as the age differences you mentioned, our church tends to be mostly elderly. I am called a young person at 60. LOL Most of our young people are from a Wednesday night ministry where we go pick up kids from disfunctional homes and provide them with a couple hours a week of Christian teaching and fellowship. The men and women who lead that ministry are indeed gifted for this. In our outreach efforts, we have tried to get the parents to come to church, but without much success to date.

    From reading this and other posts you have made, I believe you would be a positive addition to almost any church you felt lead to by the Lord.
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    This is good stuff, Salty.


    I've seen this done in years past. Good idea.
     
  10. abcgrad94

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    Welcome to BB!

    I know you've asked what questions to ask a candidate, and you've received good advice there. Let me give you the flip side of some things you don't want to ask a candidate: (and yes, these have been asked of us or other pastors we know)

    1. What can your wife do?
    2. Are any of your children adopted and/or a different "race" than you are?
    3. Height and weight of the candidate and his wife, and whether or not they are in "good health."
    4. Is your wife willing to work outside the home so you can have more income and have more time to pastor us?
    5. What are you going to do to grow the church? (Any pastor worth his salt will counter ask what the church is already doing to help itself grow.)
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    I want to zero in on the first question, because there is some relevance here.

    Although a church doesn't officially call a pastor's wife, the reality is that she's part of the package. I think it's appropriate to say to the candidate that we have no expectations for your wife, except that she fulfill her role as a wife and pastor's wife--and she'll define how that's done.

    Do emphasize that if she has particular gifts to use for the Lord, they are welcome, but there's no pressure.

    We did something before calling our current pastor. We invited him and his wife and children to join the search committee members and their wives over a meal. It was a relaxed setting, and gave us all a chance to get more acquainted. They learned more about us, and we learned more about them, but without their appearing to be "on display."
     
  12. 12strings

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    Thanks, I have been serving my church for 5.5 years as Music & Youth Pastor...so I guess their search process worked fairly well too.
     
  13. flossbling

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    thank everyone, you been a graet help
     
  14. OldRegular

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    Salty has already mentioned this but I will give it a second. The candidate should be asked about his salvation experience and then a follow up on his call to the ministry. I believe it is worth noting that God saves individuals and each salvation experience will be different. We should not expect an experience similar to that of the Apostle Paul
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    OR, those are the first two questions the committee should ask. You and Salty are right on the money.
     
  16. go2church

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    Among the others that have been mentioned I would also ask:

    Why are you looking to leave your current position?
     
  17. mont974x4

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    That is a good one. Keep in mind many do not have a "current" position.

    Many are coming out of school or simply looking for their first full time paid pastorate.
    Many are coming out of a sabbatical of sorts. Some self-imposed and some are not. I am in this position myself. This would open up the need for more questions:
    Why was the last position left?
    What was the purpose of the time away from ministry?
    What did God work in you during this time? Or what did He teach you?
    When did you begin looking for a place to serve? What made you decide on the time to start looking again?
     
  18. abcgrad94

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    This is excellent.
     

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