Several times I have been asked to help churches in their pulpit committee work. Having only been interviewed by one pulpit committee when in the process of being called by Shawnee Baptist Church I can’t speak from a vast supply of personal experience.
I have over the years interviewed and hired a couple hundred people. In addition I have observed numerous churches practically self destruct because they didn’t use wisdom and good procedures in selecting a pastor. The thoughts below may be a help to you or someone you know. Feel free to pass this post along to anyone who might profit by it.
Pastor Search Considerations: Suggestions for Pulpit Committee Work
1. Biblical Qualifications – Make sure that the committee knows, understands and agrees on the Biblical qualifications of a pastor. 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9
2. Personal interview – A sit down Q&A session with 2 or more of the committee. Some questions should be thought through and written down. The candidate should also be allowed to ask questions of committee members.
3. Service style, music, ETC – Answer questions concerning Bible Translations, Traditional or contemporary services, Music…
4. Listen to several recorded sermons – Don’t simply depend on a sugar stick message.
5. Call references – Check all references given. Call former employers, even those not given as references. Ask references about Doctrine, Conflict Resolution, Work Ethic, ETC.
6. Get references from references – Go another level deep. Example, Don’t just call the deacon whose name was given to you. Ask that deacon for the names and numbers of other deacons or church leaders.
7. Wife & Children at home – Make sure you meet the whole family. In interviews with references, ask specific questions about the family also.
8. Doctrine & standards coincide w/church – Make sure these things are discussed and that you are on the same page with the same Biblical goals and beliefs.
9. Dress, Appearance and Lifestyle – Don’t call someone who will discredit the church.
10. Personal credit check
11. Criminal background check
12. Unity of pulpit committee
Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. Don’t expect perfection. Consider one candidate at a time. Don’t make this a popularity contest. Talk about compensation. Let the serious candidate know about any problems brewing in the church. SCHEDULE PRAYER SEASONS BEGGING GOD FOR HIS WILL.
My prayers are with you in this process. If I can be of further help in any way, don’t hesitate to call.
Lonnie Mattingly l (502) 386-5521
Indeed an important task that should be accomplished with much prayer, wisdom and unity. I’ve seen the messes that happen when the wrong person is hired. It can and does destroy churches. This is a great list of helps for those commissioned to this process. 🙂
I have printed the Pulpit Committee Work for our committee. We will be meeting tonight to discuss what to do and when. I think this will help us to find the right man to fill our pulpit. Our church is not large but in need of a pastor now.
Great insight, Pastor Lonnie! It’s also important to have a thorough job description before the search begins so that there are some objective guidelines to keep the committee on track as they are reviewing candidates. A successful pastor search is when the right DNA match is found between the new pastor and the church.