Search Committee Majorities?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Jonathan, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    This is a question primarily to pastors but I woudld like to hear the thoughts of the laity as well.

    A pastor friend of mine was being considered by a search committee a number of years ago. He insisted that the committee be unanimous in its voting before he would be willing to come before the church to preach in view of a call.

    What are your requirements on this issue? Assuming that you agree that God might call one of His 'called' to a troubled and hurting body, what type of majority would you expect from the committee? From the congregation?
     
  2. dianetavegia

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    Our newly formed search committee has 6 members. I would expect all 6 to agree on a person before presenting them to the church in view of a call. We have almost 1,000 members. I would hope we'd have 90% of those voting or better vote yes. With our new youth pastor, we had only 12 vote nay. Those were probably hold outs who were upset that the previous part time youth pastor was 'let go' when we decided we needed a full time youth pastor and he had 3 jobs and would not consider a full time position.

    Diane
     
  3. NateT

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    I can speak from the lay side having just finished this proces in our church and being on the committee myself.

    Our committee behaved this way: With each resume we had 1 of 3 piles to put them in. 1) Inactive, 2) Hold and 3) Active. In order to be placed in the Inactive, everyone had to agree that we would not want this man in our church as our pastor. To be placed in the other two, required just one person to think that is where it should be.

    The "hold" pile was used to say "let's get more information on this guy" a tape or talk to him or something. The active is ones that we'd like to go hear preach, or would strongly consider for our next pastor.

    We had approximately 100 resumes during our search. There were a total of 3 that ever made the active (maybe 4, but I think only 3). 1 of those was moved to "hold" after more deliberation. The other wound up with conference calls to the pastor. Out of that 1 was moved to inactive and one stayed "active."

    However, even though that one was active, we were still split on what we thought. We had 2 that thought "absolutely lets bring him" we had 3 that thought "I won't say no...yet" We went to hear him preach, it was then 3 who said yes, 2 who said "I want to know a little more" and after a second phone call it was unanimous, all 5 said "let's bring him for a trial sermon."

    We decided that we would not bring a man for a trial sermon without the 5 of us agreeing, because if we can't get 100% among 5 people how can we get the 80% our constitution required.

    In respect to the churches that are hurting, I don't have any input there, we weren't in the midsst of a split, perhaps if we were we would have operated in a different way (although I doubt it).

    As a side note, we made a committment to ourselves that we would only actively pursue 1 candidate at a time. We would not bring in more than one guy for a trial sermon and then have a run-off.

    We did have 100% approval in committe, and 98+% in the general congregation.

    By doing it this way, our pastor knew he was walking in to a situation where the church was behind him.

    Hope my post wasn't too long and answered your question.
     
  4. Gayla

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    since our church will soon be looking for a new Pastor, my question is, how was the search committee formed?

    (I've never been through this before.)
     
  5. dianetavegia

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    Our committee was chosen by our deacon body and includes 2 women, one young Hispanic man, one man in his late 30's and 2 elders. None of those chosen are new Christian's or new to our church.

    Diane
     
  6. gb93433

    gb93433
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    I can only say what my experience was being on both sides of the fence at a time in my life. When I was on a search commmittee we had the potential pastor field questions at a meeting with the congregation. That made a great impact upon both the pastor and congregation before the pastor actually came.

    When I candidated or came in view of a call I insisted that I do the same. One church told me that they had things already taken care of. Well I should have never taken that church unless I stood before the congregation first. We now call it the church from hell. The people in the congregation wanted change. But the deacons were happy and content to do little more than be the holy huddle. Once people started coming to Christ the deacons became quite uneasy.

    Before that church I was involved in a church that had a bad name and was almost gone. The pastor and most of the congregation left. But the 16 people who remained told me what had happened. I found them to tell the truth and we made it. That church told me that they didn't even know how much they could pay me. I told them we will come by faith. We lived by faith and the church gave by faith. The church grew steadily by faith. That church became a dynamic church in both our life and in the community. It now has 20 acres of prime land and is building its first building. They had lost everything including most of its money. It was a great time for us and them. Yes it was hard but the people were willing to work and pray hard. God did some incredible things. Many miracles took place. We saw so many answers to prayer.

    I think most pastors can handle a poor situation if they know up front about it. But I found it extreemely difficult when those outside of the church, other non-Christians, and other pastors began telling me what I was up against. Ever feel like you were lied to? It found that out after just three weeks.

    I believe the pastor and congregation who will be humble will have God's blessing.
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    Since I've worked with many churches (I'm an "interim" to pastorless churches) most fit this criteria:

    Congregation selects a good cross section of the body to be on a search committee (1 elder, 1 deacon, 1 deaconness, 1 ss teacher, 1 awana worker +3-4 others from demographic groups like senior citizens). They get info, bios, resumes.

    Ones they feel good match for our church (doctrine, experience, etc) they check all references, ask for tapes from specific dates - that way they don't get a "candy stick" message.

    And a more thorough "check" - credit check, police/FBI records, etc

    Then, if fellow seems to be a potential candidate, they interview on phone (conference call). And a second, more detailed, with a list of questions from the whole congregation.

    Then, if still positive, a group goes to hear the man in his present church.

    Then, if really good, he will be brought in privately to meet with the elders/deacons and observe our church.

    Only THEN will he be presented as a CANDIDATE to preach. And only if elders approve unanimously will he be voted on.

    Need 75% then.
     
  8. NateT

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    Our selection process for how the committe was formed is this:

    In a special called business meeting, we pass out ballots with 5 slots. You can write anyone's name in the 5 slots (but the name can only appear once). A counting comitte goes and counts them. Anyone with 10 or more nominations or 10% of the ballots (whichever is less) is officially "nominated". Then the deacons contact that person and make sure he/she wants to be on the list.

    In a couple of weeks we had another business meeting with the list of names displayed. Then everyone voted for up to 5 people. Those with the most votes were on the committe.

    We also had a rule that no relatives could be on the committee. (We had a husband and wife on the final ballot, interestingly neither were elected).

    If anyone wanted to/needed to resign after being elected, the person who had the 6th most votes would join the committee.

    Sounds really complicated, but when we did it, it made sense =)
     
  9. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    In the absence of a fulltime pastor (and a plurality of elders), we have an interim pastor and a leadership team composed of the chairpersons of each church committee and ministry, and a representative of each segement of our educational ministry (one each from adults, youth, children).

    To select a search committee, each member of the congregation was given a ballot with spaces for 3 names and one space for the voters name. The ballots were handled by the leadership team. First, the voter name was checked to see if the name was on our active member list. If so, the candidate names were checked next.

    Once all of the votes were counted, the leadership team selected the top 9 names (deleting spouses - after contacting each) and making sure that each adult "age" area was represented. The top 7 were selected to be members of the committee and the next two were selected to be the alternates.

    All 9 were to appear at every meeting of the committee but would only vote if one of the 7 were unable to do so.

    Once the committee agrees on a candidate, the candidate will be presented to the church (trial sermon, etc...). The church will then vote to call or not call.
     
  10. j_barner2000

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    why would you require credit check....
    I have pretty good credit, but I did have a situation in the past.
    I was young and stupid and believed over time would last forever... when it dried up I learned a valuable lesson about living beyond your means.
    But your church would not call me because it still shows up on my credit even after 6 and 3/4 th years...
     
  11. GODzThunder

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    Credit and criminal checks are very important for finding a new pastor as most Churches require the pastor to make key financial decisions (new building funds, new furniture, renovation church bus etc).

    While little mistakes in the past and falling on hard times financially are usually excused it can be dangerous to hire a preacher with HORRIBLE credit (ie running up huge amounts of credit for things such as TV, cars, radios), and never paying the bills. Such preachers in the past have ruined the Church by taking all their money. Usually a minister with horrible credit will be more prone to stealing funds also. How one manages their finances usually reflects how their managment and leadership skills are.

    Again, I say hard times and past mistakes are forgiven. Years of built up derogatory credit can spell trouble though.

    Also, criminal checks are important because of the reputation of a Church. People would get very upset if they found out that their newly hired children's pastor is a convicted pedifile. Or that man in the pulpit telling you how to live your life has more domestic disputes called to his home than ike turner.
     
  12. gb93433

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    When I was hired in industry they did a credit check on me along with an MVR report and called all my references. They had me take a personality test and established a profile of me. Once i got this far they had a number of people in the plant interview me. Some I would be under and others I woiuld be over. This was over a period of nine hours that day. They were direct with me and told what they would like to see accomplished with the first few weeks.

    But there was one thing that impressed me the most. They told me that they expected me tomake mistakes. Because if I wasn't it meant I wasn't working. But if I did make a mistake they wanted to know about it. They also told me to never lie to them because if I did I would be without a job.
    They also had I sign a paper stating that if we ever stole anything we would be prosecuted and forfeit all our retirement.

    That company had the finest reputation in that business. It was awarded the top award for ethics in business.

    Personally I hate it when empoyers or churches do not do their homework. It is bad for the person coming and for the church. A person with an excellent reputation and history to prove it does not come with that before him.

    When I interviewed for the business I eventually worked for I came away feeling like if I never work for that company I had great resepect for the company. When I was notified that I had the job I was ecstatic because of what I had heard and seen regarding them.
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    Glad to hear others "amening" my recommendation for credit/police check. We in Wyoming are "out of the loop" from a lot of the scandal in other states and fellowships. And our churches are way spread out form one another, too.

    So a fellow may LOOK and SOUND like God's gift to a church, but the things we uncover. Seems like they move West after real messes and hope no one will find out until they are firmly entrenched.

    Lots of ifb pastors have strong leg muscles and no character.
     
  14. j_barner2000

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    OK I can understand the criminal check... and in light of the fact that mistakes and hard times can be forgiven... I have heard from a pastor here (he is very legalistic, but I respect him and know he is faithful to our Lord) that if a mans credit is not squeaky clean then he is disqualified... from any responsible position in a church... so, this makes me nervous. Especially since my wife and I feel drawn to Missouri and youth ministry. We are looking and praying. I would consider a position where the compensation would be a good solid mentoring relationship with an experienced pastor.
     
  15. Hardsheller

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    The Problem with a Credit Check is not many people know how to read them.

    For example: A pastor may have a large amount of debt which he has paid on religiously and not be considered for the position simply because of the size of the debt load.

    The question that is always asked is "How much do you owe?"
    The question that is never asked is "How much do you own?"

    Financial Solvency is the key.

    A better approach would be a Credit Report combined with a Financial Statement prepared by a CPA.
     
  16. TomVols

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    I personally disagree with financial/credit checks. Churches are not discreet. Therefore, if they see something on a credit report that they don't understand, or that is a mistake that has been corrected, it's all over town in a matter of minutes. Needless harm can come to a pastoral family because of this, and churches are not held to the same standards that businesses are held to if they leak this information. Further, almost all churches I know that do this have had problems with money without exception. It's considered a red-flag by many for a church to insist on this. Besides, if a church has done its homework checking out the character and references, experience and education of the pastoral candidate, this question will already have been answered.
     
  17. TomVols

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    I believe that each church situation would require a different number of votes for my preference. In some churches, 84% would be a good number because the 16% might be children, curmudgeons, or people who like pastors who carry burgundy bibles instead of black ones. In others, 95% might be bad because the 5% is made up of the deaconate, elders, treasurer, church council, etc. So you have to know the numbers behind the numbers.

    Churches must be more honest about these things. Far too many churches fudge the numbers and give the wrong impression to candidates.
     

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