Pastor Search Committee

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by dh1948, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. dh1948

    dh1948
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    Please give me some feedback on this scenario. No, it hasn't happened to me, but I am aware of a church where this has taken place:

    The Pastor Search Committee has spent months reviewing resumes and finally settles on a potential candidate to be the church's pastor. The committee is unanimous in its belief that this guy is God's choice to be their pastor. He is presented to the church and preaches for them on two consecutive Sundays. People are given the opportunity to meet him and his family. It is announced that the following Sunday the church will vote on extending a call.

    The candidate does not get the necessary percentage of votes for a call to be extended. The Pastor Search Committee is very upset and fills the church has missed God on this one. It is back to square one.

    Do you think the entire search committee should resign and a fresh one elected to replace it? If you were a member of such a committee would you continue to serve on the committee?

    What say ye?
     
  2. exscentric

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    Have never been in a church where a pulpit comm. picked the pastor for a rubber stamp vote by the congregation, normally the pulpit comm. is to gain candidates for congregation consideration.

    As to resigning that would be up to the church to decide. Is it possible that the pulpit comm. assumed too much responsibility?
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    I'd be upset too, all that work, but they aren't the body. They can only present who they felt to be the best candidate. If the congregation votes otherwise than they need to consider a several of things:

    1 Survey the congregation. Develop a good on surveymonkey.com or something and send it out. Get feedback. Usually when a candidate is approved by the committee and not the congregation there are other things at play. One the fastest ways to figure it out is a congregational survey.

    2. Maybe some of them should resign. I mean really, maybe. They are a group chosen to serve the congregation in one of the most important decisions the church will make for the next season. If they are embittered it is wise to leave the committee.

    3. I was called on to consult a congregation in the same situation. After attending the first meeting I knew what was going on: the committee was all from one stage of life, all one ethnicity, and all from one perspective. Maybe this is what's going on. If the committee doesn't represent the congregation then maybe its time for the committee to change.

    Good question :thumbsup:
     
  4. Crucified in Christ

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    Preachinjesus is giving excellent advice here on all counts. I second his recommendations. By the way, I have also seen the comm. situation he speaks of; you do need to make sure your comm. represents the whole church. The survey can also help there.
     
  5. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    While I understand the frustration of the committee members there is obviously a disconnect between them and the congregation as a whole. The committee needs to back up and start over. The first two questions they need to answer are:

    1. Why did their candidate fail to get the required votes? My guess, with no information whatsoever is that there is another candidate that at least part of the congregation likes better. Was there an earlier candidate? Is there a local candidate that is well known who was excluded for some reason? Who was there when the vote was made? Were non active members brought in to skew the vote? Was a large block of members absent for some reason? They need to understand what went wrong.

    2. Do you need to change the committee members? I don’t know that I would resign if the congregation wanted me to stay on the committee, but I would make them express that. There needs to be a new election of committee members. My feelings are that each aspect of the congregation needs to be represented. There needs to be youth and experience, male and female, and any minority in the church represented on the committee. If you don’t want to re elect each member you could have a simple vote of confidence on the committee as it stands. Does the congregation like the committee as it is or do they want to change it?

    Other things the committee needs to do if they have not already is write a good job description and doctrinal statement. They need to express what they expect from a pastor and what their minimum qualifications are. They also need to have a strong doctrinal statement for the church that the incoming candidate can agree too.
     
  6. dh1948

    dh1948
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    I thank all of you for your helpful input. I am supposed to meet tomorrow with a friend who is on a search committee and is seeking some answers after the committee's recommendation was turned down. The candidate needed only 6% more of the vote to be called as pastor. My friend is quite distraught over the situation. Your wise input will help me in giving him some guidance.
     
  7. Crucified in Christ

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    If it is any consolation to him, the majority of candidates that I have seen voted down over the years only missed by a small percentage of votes.

    If you do not mind sharing...what is the necessary percentage at his church- 80%, 85%, 90%.
     
  8. TomVols

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    Yeah...I'd want to know what percentage he needed and what percentage he got. How many more votes would the 6% be? If he needed 75%, that's one thing. 90% is another. And how big of a church are we talking about? And was the percent that voted against him comprised of the power-brokers in the church? (If you think this play in, you're out of your mind).

    I don't think prima facie the members should step aside. Then again, I dont know if you have a good makeup of the committee either. I've seen some committees that were representative of the church, and I've seen some that didn't resemble the rest of the church at all.

    I'd also want to know more details. Was there a congregational Q and A? More than once I've seen search teams forego this and the man gets shafted because of it. Was there poor communication? The devil is in the details....sometimes, literally :(
     
    #8 TomVols, Nov 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2010
  9. TomVols

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    I saw one guy get less than 50%. The shocking part? That he got any votes at all. Terrible preacher. Wife publicly scolded people during a trial sermon. This committee was brain dead.
     
  10. dh1948

    dh1948
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    There were 196 votes cast. He received 69% of the votes. The minimum requirement was 75%.

    The search committee consists of seven members: 1 college student; 2 between the ages of 25-35; 2 between the ages of 40-65; 2 over the age of 65.

    The committee consists of 3 women and 4 men. Three of the men are active deacons. The two women are the wives of deacons.

    I suspect the 31% who voted against the candidate was in the 65 and over age group.
     
  11. dh1948

    dh1948
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    Yes, there was a Q and A opportunity. According to the committee member who has been seeking my counsel, it went well.
     
  12. dh1948

    dh1948
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    The normal practice of SBC pastor search committees is to consider one candidate at a time. The committee then recommends the candidate to the church. The church has the final vote. I would not call this process "rubber stamping."

    No, the committee did not assume too much authority. It acted within church-approved guidelines.
     
  13. exscentric

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    Did not mean anything by the comment, just observing that if the pulpit comm. is so upset they must have been looking for a kind of a rubber stamp to their own decision otherwise why be upset?

    I like one candidate at a time. Many churches are doing multiples anymore and it seems rather unfair to the candidates - takes a lot of time getting though multiple men to make a final decision.

    In all of it, as you know, the Lord must be the one leading and it seems He was in the pulpit comm. but He may just have been bringing about His perfect plan with the poor vote.

    Neither the pulpit comm. nor candidate need feel uneasy, they have done the best they could and the Lord has the outcome.

    Trust your friend finds comfort in your kind words :thumbs:
     
  14. Crucified in Christ

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    Wow! That is amazing. I have never seen anything like that. I guess he was lucky to get any votes at all.

    The worst trial sermon I ever heard was so difficult to sit through that I thought he was done. The church required 90% and he still received 83%.
     
  15. Crucified in Christ

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    In all fairness, that is a lot of no votes...especially when you consider that it was a 75% vote. 75% is as low as I have ever seen the threshold. Many churches have 80 or 90%

    My gut feeling is that if there was that much "silent opposition" among a single age group, they must feel that they are being left out of the process. Can you elaborate on this?

    Regardless, if the committee was solidly behind the candidate, that would make me think that there are big problems here. If the sermon and the Q and A both went well, then the problem might be more general (age of the candidate, education, worship preference). Again, do you have any ideas here? I think that you must since you automatically assumed that it was the older group that would have voted against this candidate. Perhaps a traditional/contemporary problem here?
     
  16. Crucified in Christ

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    By the way, in a lot of the power broker votes, they do not tip their hand in the Q and A.
     
  17. Crucified in Christ

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    Exscentric- i think you ask a very good question, but serving on a pulpit comm. is an unusual thing. I have been on both sides of a pulpit comm. and have seen a number of unusual situations.

    I think the reason committees get defensive is because they are selected and empowered by the church to fulfill the purpose of bringing a candidate. When that job is accomplished and there are no complaints- i.e. everything seems to be going well- then all of a sudden a vote like this occurs...it is very disheartening.

    I was on a comm. that brought a candidate that was voted down (he received 88% of the 90% he needed). It was not a total surprise and some people did not feel that his educational qualifications were adequate. Even though I felt he was right candidate, I had an understanding of why others did not. In another case, an able candidate was basically voted down by a church clique and no one even knew why...other than they did not like his wife...for me, those are the difficult ones. Anyway, it is not an easy job; all search comm. need our prayers as do the candidates that sit before them.
     
  18. TomVols

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    If the search team is laden with deacons or deacons' wives, is this a referendum on the deacons?

    That team (IMHO) is not fairly representative of the body. For 5 of the 7 to be tied to the diaconate in a church of this size is atypical. Something doesn't seem right.

    75% isn't terribly uncommon. I've seen it in many churches. It's designed to put the honus on the pastor instead of the church voting down someone. They figure if you can fog up a mirror, you can get 3 out of four votes, but it it's low enough you'll bow out. I've actually heard churches verbalize this.

    Indeed. Churches and committees need to avail themselves of training available for search teams and for churches looking for a pastor. Most state conventions will offer this if they are Southern Baptist in nature.
     
  19. Tom Bryant

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    That's what I was thinking when I read the makeup of the committee. To have so many voting members but the majority of the committee made up of deacons or their wives seems like a recipe for trouble.

    They may want to form a new team to do the search.
     
  20. TomVols

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    Well, if the church had 60 people in attendance, I can sort of see it. But that doesn't seem to be the case here if almost 200 votes were cast. Then again, I can remember a church many moons ago that was dealing with me. The morning of the vote, about a dozen people I didn't know came in. The spirit of the service changed, and during the invitation the altar was filled with people (none from the people who just showed up). The vote was just under the required minimum for my election. Apparently, some old scores were being settled and I was one of the casualties.
     

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