Pastor Search Committee Protocol

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by FBC, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. FBC

    FBC
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    I am particularly interested in ministers' thoughts on these items>
    At what point should a search committee begin to consider only one candidate at a time:
    • immediately after the initial review of resumes
    • after reviewing answers to a questionnaire (1st, 2nd, or 3rd):)
    • after checking references
    • after reviewing audio/video of sermon
    • after initial visit/interview

    Even if the committee has a short (2-7) list of candidates still under consideration what is the proper protocol when the committee does begin to work with only one candidate? For instance, say the committee decides to schedule a visit/interview of a candidate and they are only going to be considering that particular candidate at that time until he is either called or it is decided to move "in another direction." How should the committee inform the candidates that have not been eliminated in the search but are not being visited at that time?
    Two more questions: Is it a good idea to offer the former pastor as a reference for the church - in case the candidate wants to call him up?
    And, If a church has already been searching for a minister other than a Senior Pastor, and the Senior Pastor then is called away to another church, are there situations where a church should proceed with the original search while beginning a search for a new Senior Pastor?
     
  2. Tom Bryant

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    I don't expect to be dealt with only at any other time except when I am a candidate. When you get peace and the committee comes to a unanimous view of who you believe is God's choice as your next pastor should be the criteria for dealing with just one man.

    In terms of the short list, you can contact the people and say that they are on the short list of X number of men. Then when you come down to the one, then you can tell the others that you are moving in another direction.

    As to letting the candidate know the contact information on the previous pastor, I insist on contacting them. If the resignation was strained, you could explain that. But I would want to speak with the previous pastor.

    In terms of calling someone before you call the pastor, personally I would l want to be called so I could have input on the calling of the associate. Chemistry between a pastor and the staff is important.
     
  3. Jim1999

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    To be honest, I never even considered a church that had offered the ministry to anyone but me. I am not applying for a job, but considering a calling.

    I guess a lot has changed over the years, and I am not pleased with the secular ways people go about calling a pastor. Surely my degrees have nothing to do with a calling. I never allowed a church to poast my degrees anyway. If my preaching does not say who I am, then I am in the wrong place.

    In my early days, churches approached the association about available men and went from there. We had already been screened by the association, and we did keep close connections with the fellowship. I don't know about to-day, and I certainly don't know anything about how Americans go about things, but I have heard enough even in here to know that I would never be interested in an American church.

    Cheers, and good search.

    Jim
     
  4. webdog

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    You left off one "after"...much prayer :)

    I was on the search committee just recently at our church. The first couple weeks we did nothing but meet as a group and pray... for the leadership in the church, that God appoints the pastor and not us, and for our future pastor, that God makes it crystal clear he should be the pastor of our church.

    After further prayer individually, we put together a personal profile of what characteristics, and what kind of pastor we saw leading our church. This took a couple weeks. The profile was composed of questions the elders had for us to fill in.

    We then met as a group together and went over the different profiles. It was really cool. All of the profiles were very similar, down to age, background and experience. It was definately a "God" thing. We went over only a few resumes because our pastor would come from within our congregation. Almost a year prior, our pastor moved here from the east coast back to NE Ohio to plant a church. He fell in love with our church, and sensed God leading him to stay at our church. Almost a year later, our previous pastor left to launch another church, making for an opening. Even before ever knowing the background of our new pastor and seeing his resume, our profiles were done. He matched our profile very well, and the rest is history.
     
  5. Ed Edwards

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    FBC: //Two more questions: Is it a good idea to offer the former
    pastor as a reference for the church - in case the candidate
    wants to call him up?//

    Your prospective new pastor has already talked to
    your former paster. These pastors know each other.
    Probably then it is a good idea to give the data on the
    last pastor to the prospective new pastor. But it only changes the
    notion that the church is willing to help the prospective
    new pastor. So it isn't a real high priority item.
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    How you select a future senior pastor is indeed one of the most significant, spiritual, serious, and under-rated areas of church life. I commend you on your interest in learning how to do this process better.

    Personally I would recommend that you begin your elimination process in this order, maintaining a strong prayer base at all levels:

    1. Review of resumes (figure out who doesn't fit your ministry on the surface) should get your pool down to fifteen to twenty candidates
    2. Only questionaire (a deliberate process with input from other pastors in your area) should limit your pool to five to eight
    3. Sermon video (only accept video imho...too many resources today to not see someone's style rather than just hear it.) This should be available for all the members of the committee to watch at their own pace and come to next meeting prepared. Should narrow the field to about four to five.
    4. Initial telelphone interviews. Don't go over the questionaire again but ask really hard questions with a speaker phone interview with the committee. Should limit you to your one person.
    5. One site interview follow up by calling weekend. If things shake out well this should be your man...if not well check with the others and/or start over.

    This is frustrating process for everyone involved. It's like dating someone. You check each other, start talking, do the DTR (define the relationship), get serious, start seeing each other exclusively, then comes the proposal...you see where this is going.

    For churches who seriously go after three or four people at one time they shouldn't be put off if one of the candidates does the same. Just a thought.

    Also let everyone being looked at from step 1 through 5 fully informed at all points. Nothing is worse than sitting in your office not knowing what's going on.

    Be honest. The "it's not you it's me" thing stinks in dating and in the interview process.

    Honestly I will cease conversations with a church if they don't provide past staff members info...regardless of how they left. I can learn more about your church in five minutes talking with a fellow clergyman than five hours talking to your committee. I ask for at least two to three staff members of the same or similiar position I am interviewing for at the outset of the one on one thing. Also I will call local DOMs and denomintional people in the area to get some additional info. No reason for me to send my family into an ambush...

    Personally I will never go to a church that is lacking a senior pastor. When they finally bring one in a new senior pastor he has the right to replace upon his arrival imho. I would cease all staff hiring until a new senior pastor is found. He might have some people that he can bring in and make the transition faster than a committee could ever bring it to pass.

    Laity shouldn't feel put off by senior pastors who ask to hire their own staff. Laity doesn't get some of the details of ministry like ministers do, they shouldn't be tasked with filling staff positions below the senior pastor. I would ask a couple of ministers in the area to assist the committee when bringing in a senior pastor. They can cut through the red tape and bring a new person on the scene much faster.

    Blessings on you and your search. May you find God's man for your church. Keep us updated :applause:
     
  7. LeBuick

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    I don't think it's the pulpit committee job to choose or offer anyone the pulpit. That belongs to the Church body as a whole. The pulpit committee is to bring the candidates before the people. They are there to coordinate and do the leg work but they don't choose anything.

    Every applicant should be brought in to preach before the people for an entire Sunday. After each of the candidates have preached a prayer meeting should be held with the Church Body to select the top candidates. I like 3 but let the Church agree how many. Some Churches do secret ballot but I believe in having each member stand and be counted. You may also want to bring in a pastor from another Church or your State Convention President to chair the prayer meetings.

    Bring each of the top candidates back one at a time but this time for the entire week. This is so you can hear him teach, see how he is with few members during midweek as well as when the Church is full on Sunday. Also, publish their applications, resume, and information you found from their references (nothing negative. That should be mentioned at the meetings). Also encourage the Candidates to bring their families this time. The wife at minimum but the kids are good to meet also. Hoold a question answer session with the members and each Candidate after service. Sort of a meet the candidate time.

    After they all preached/teached again, hold another prayer meeting and let the body select a pastor.

    It is never a committee job to choose anything. They are to bring recommendations before the Church Body to be decided.
     
    #7 LeBuick, Nov 19, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2006
  8. LeBuick

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    Degree's will come into play If the Church has criteria which mandates a degree. I personally don't agree with that requirement but some Churches do. The association should be asked to send candidates and make recommendations but they should never be chosen by the association.

    I don't believe in choosing a pastor based solely on his preaching unless all you want is a preacher. If you want a church administrator, councelor, teacher and spiritual leader for all the family you would want to do more then hear him preach.
     
  9. webdog

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    I would think this would depend on what kind of church government is in place. Our church is elder ran, so our recommendation went before them. The candidate did preach a couple different times for the congregation, and we welcomed feedback, however the final decision rested on the shoulders of the elders, as I feel is the biblical model.
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    I think it is important to remember that a pastor is more than just a preacher/pulpiteer. There is something to be said for his pastoral method and how he casts vision.

    Preaching only gets you so far...there is more to being a pastor. Too many churches recently have gotten into serious trouble because they've just looked to hire a preacher instead of a pastor...major difference.
     
  11. LeBuick

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    Then he is their Pastor, not the Church bodies... Just my $00.02
     
  12. webdog

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    How do you figure?
     
  13. LeBuick

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    They chose him. They voted him in.

    It should take a 2/3 majority of the body to both fire and call a pastor. This keeps him accountable to the Church body and not a committee.
     
  14. webdog

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    I'm still not following...must be a case of the soon to be "Monday's"...

    Our search team presented him before the Elder board. The Bible is clear that Elders are the authority in the Church, with them being responsible for spiritual decisions and condition within the Church. The congregation is to submit to the authority above them, not be the authority. Congregationally ran churches have no place, IMO, as I do not find that government within Scripture, besides, there would be no reason for Elders if this were the case.
     
  15. LeBuick

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    This is where we disagree, the Pastor is the authority in the Church. The Elders are there to aid and support him. Most of all Elders should be servants of the membership. I think you are confusing what Paul meant when he said "rule".

    Look at what Paul said to Titus;

    Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

    Notice the Pastor sets things in order and ordains the Elders. It's not the other way around.

    EDIT: Many Churches believe Elders are clergy as they share the preaching and teaching duties. You will also find in Acts where Elders should be supported by the Church like the Pastor. I guess I need to know your definition of Elder but it seems you make them the absolute Authority in the Church which I strongly disagree with. The models we have for the Church is either Sheep and Shepherd or Vine and Branches... There is only one Vine and One Shepherd.
     
    #15 LeBuick, Nov 19, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2006
  16. Jim1999

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    Years ago, in Baptist circles, we believed that pastors, bishops, elders were all designations of the same office; the pastor of the church.

    On who runs the church, the pastor is the overseer, but the deacons represent the church body and pay the bills. It is their church, and the pastor provides the spiritual leadership.

    Pastors come and go, and go more than they come.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    How would you like to pick a pastor this way:

    The congregation gathers at a well-publicized business meeting. The floor is opened for nominations, and various members nominate different preachers to be their new pastor. He may already be a pastor elsewhere. A vote is taken. A committee is dispatched to the highest vote-getter to inform him that he's been selected pastor. Keep in mind that he may not have even known that he had been nominated and elected--it may come as a complete surprise. The newly-elected pastor will either accept or refuse. If he refuses, the process starts over again. If he accepts the call, he starts pastoring almost immediately.

    This is the way pastors at my church were selected 100 years ago. The church minutes record the details. There was no search committee. It sounds haphazard compared to the way we do it today, but most of the time, it worked just fine.
     
  18. Jim1999

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    I guess given the available means of communication at the time, it might work...the prospective pastor prolly "felt" called of God because the church invited him...............

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  19. Jim1999

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    I find it rather ironic that huge, mega churches have a host of applicants, and so many smaller churches go months and even years without a full time pastor.......

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    Here's the way our search committee did it.

    After receiving the first set of resumes, we would narrow the list, and inform those no longer in contention that the were moving in a different direction.

    I called each of the others personally to get acquainted, swap information, request sermon tapes. Sometime the list can be narrowed after those conversations.

    Once you have the tapes, choose one to pursue, inform the others that you deal with only one candidate at a time, and to be patient while the move through the process. If the process takes a long time, another letter (or e-mail) is in order just to keep all the prospects from twisting in the wind.

    Pursue that one candidate until the door closes. The committee should meet with him personally on his home turf, with his wife invited, and the spouses of the search committee also invited. If the door stays open, invite the candidate to your church field. Have him preach Sunday morning, meet with the congregation in the afternoon to answer their questions, and actually question the congregation as well. Have him preach Sunday evening if necessary.

    As a general proposition, I would suggest that the search committee invite a prospect to the church field only if it thinks it will recommend him as pastor. The church should understand that by inviting the candidate to preach and meet with the church, the committee is signaling that he's the man they'll recommend. (Unless, of course, he completely messes up).

    Take the vote, inform the othe prospects, start helping your new pastor get moved onto the field. Oh, the church will pay moving expenses, of course.
     

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