Pulpit Committee Work

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 interviewA 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 sermonsDon’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 referencesGo 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/churchMake 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

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A GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST

In the army of the Lord we need to be good soldiers and we need to train good soldiers.  I see today many who are looking for the comfort zone.  Many are on continual R & R.  They never confront the enemy.  They never rescue the perishing.  They take the path of political correctness and safety.

I do believe there is a Master’s Minority in all our churches that would rise up, put on the armor of God and get in the battle for righteousness.  They would look to the to our Commander in Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ.  They would have His passion for the lost.

Below are a few thoughts on some Bible characteristics of a good soldier.  I’m sure there are many more that could be added.  Let’s get busy doing the work of a good soldier of Jesus Christ and then recruiting additional soldiers for the spiritual warfare we are in.

1. A GOOD SOLDIER HAS LEARNED TO ENDURE HARDNESS – (2 Timothy 2:3)  “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”   Christian Life is not simply a Sunday School picnic  (1 Samuel 17:29)  “And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?”

2. HE AVOIDS DISTRACTING ENTANGLEMENTS – (2 Timothy 2:4a) “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;…” that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

3. A GOOD SOLDIER DESIRES TO PLEASE HIS SUPERIOR – (2 Timothy 2:4b-5)  “… that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”

4. A GOOD SOLDIER REALIZES SOME BATTLES ARE WORTH FIGHTING – (1 Timothy 6:12)  “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses”

5. A GOOD SOLDIER IS READY TO DIE – (2 Timothy 4:6)  “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”

6. A GOOD SOLDIER HAS A FIGHTING FINISHING FAITH  –  (2 Timothy 4:7)  “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

7. A GOOD SOLDIER WILL BE REWARDED – (2 Timothy 4:8) “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

BUILDING BOLDNESS IN YOUR LIFE

(2 Timothy 1:7)  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

I am convinced that many people who do not witness for the Lord Jesus are paralyzed with fear.  It is not that they don’t love the Lord.  It is not that they don’t care about the lost.  It is simply that they have allowed the devil to intimidate them.  What most of us need is an infusion of boldness.  Boldness that only the Lord can give us.  I want to give you a few thoughts that have helped me to begin growing in boldness.  If you have time to meditate on them and take action by faith, I believe God could help you too.    

GOD HAS TOLD US WE DON’T HAVE TO BE CONTROLLED BY FEAR… I’VE BEEN TOLD THAT THERE ARE 365 FEAR NOTS IN THE BIBLE.  ONE FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR.  

I trust that the seven points below will help you like they helped me when someone shared them with me.  Develop some thoughts for each point.  Preach it.  Teach it.  Practice it.

1. BOLDNESS THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS

(Proverbs 28:1)  “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

2. BOLDNESS THROUGH SPENDING TIME WITH JESUS

(Acts 4:13)  “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

3. BOLDNESS THROUGH PRAYER

(Acts 4:29)  “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,”

(Ephesians 6:18-20)  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; {19} And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, {20} For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

4. BOLDNESS THROUGH SPIRIT FULLNESS

(Acts 4:31)  “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”

5. BOLDNESS THROUGH PURPOSE 

(Acts 13:45-47)  “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. {46} Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. {47} For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”

THESE MEN KNEW THEY WERE DOING GOD’S WILL.  GETTING GOD’S WORD OUT WAS NOT AN OPTION WITH THEM… “IT WAS NECESSARY”

6. BOLDNESS THROUGH THE BIBLE

(Acts 14:3)  “Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”

7. BOLDNESS BY FAITH

(2 Timothy 1:7)  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

(1 John 4:17)  “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”

HYMAN APPLEMAN GAVE ME THIS ONE

God has blessed me in many ways with a wonderful family and the opportunity to serve Him in full time service. I have had the opportunity to spend time alone with many of the great men of the past that have gone to Heaven. As an assistant pastor and then as a pastor I have hosted the men that were greatly used of God in the 20th century. Some you will like and some you won’t but that God used them greatly is hard to deny. Men like J. Harold Smith, Jack Hyles, Lee Roberson, W. A. Criswell, Tom Malone, Joe Boyd, Etc.

I loved sitting under their preaching and I loved spending time with them alone. In every case I found them to be men of character and willing to answer questions of a younger preacher.

One of the most colorful was Dr. Hyman Appleman. Dr. Appleman a Russian born Jew who became an attorney then became a Christian. He was one of the most brilliant men I have ever met. With his deep Russian accent he would give me story after story then suddenly stop and say, “Write this down.” Then he would proceed to give me a sermon outline quoting text and enumerated points from his astonishing memory.

The following outline is one of those that he gave me. I preach it often at meetings with great response.

THE PRODIGAL SON – LUKE 15:11-24

1. He Came To Want – V 14-16

2. He Came to Himself – V 17

3. He Came to His Father – V 18-24

That is how Dr. Appleman gave them. Putting the Intro, meat, conclusion and invitation on was up to me. But, I loved the sermon starters he gave me. I hope that someone can use those thoughts in your ministry in some way.

Have a great week end.

Bro. Lonnie Mattingly – John 15:8
Pastor Emeritus, Shawnee Baptist Church
Doing the work of an Evangelist

WHAT KIND OF SUNDAY SCHOOL WORKER ARE YOU?

WHAT KIND OF SUNDAY SCHOOL WORKER ARE YOU?

Spring time is a great time to build a Sunday School class. To get the job done you must be (or become) the right kind of Sunday School Worker. In a couple of my previous posts I have talked about “HOW TO START AN ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS” and “HOW TO GROW AN ADULT CLASS ONCE STARTED.”  You should check them out if you haven’t read them already.

In today’s post I want to continue the Sunday School theme. Not that I claim to have all the answers. In fact I am giving these thoughts I have limited myself to simply giving thinking points. If you will take time to think about each point and evaluate your current actions, I think you will be more than able to come to positive ideas you can implement in areas where you detect weakness.

The ideas listed are not my exclusive thoughts. They are an accumulation of ideas gathered over 45 years of ministry. Some come from great leaders of the past. Some come from my contemporaries. A few come from my own trial and error experience.

HOW TO BE THE RIGHT KIND OF SUNDAY SCHOOL WORKER

(James 3:1) “My brethren, be not many masters,                                                        knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

Masters – Gk didaskalos, did-as’-kal-os; meaning an instructor; — translated: doctor, master, teacher.

1. Be a prayer warrior

2. Be an organizer

3. Be a Bible student

4. Be a Soul Winner

5. Be a care giver to your pupil and your people

6. Be an exemplary Christian

7. Be Loyal to the Saviour, the church, the pastor and your co-workers

8. Be a record keeper

9. Be an atmosphere creator

10. Be a delegator

11. Be a rule follower

12. Be an imitator

13. Be a communicator

(1 Cor 14:40) “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

A closing thought:  At Shawnee Baptist Church over the 37 years I was pastor, for the most part had a regular weekly Teachers’ and Officers’ meetings.  They were not always over the top exciting, but they always helped us communicate and attempt to keep everyone on the same page.  The posts I have given you so far would be great starters for the instruction part of those meetings.  They could renamed and divided up over 5 or 6 weeks.  Dr. Lee Roberson constantly encouraged us to have weekly meetings.  I will give an outline for effective .workers’ meetings in a later post.

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For Christ and for Souls,

Lonnie Mattingly – John 15:8