As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there are four general steps in a Pastor Search Process: (1) Preparation, (2) Search, (3) Selection, & (4) Support. Over the next few posts, I will discuss each of these steps in greater detail. However, before you can start this process, your church needs to determine who will actually conduct your pastor search.
Keep in mind that not all churches will form a pastor search committee. In some churches, the elders or the deacons will conduct the search. In other churches, a new pastor will be appointed by an outside source. However, for the purpose of this post, I am going to describe how to form a pastor search committee from the perspective of a church with a congregational polity. With that understanding, here are some of my thoughts and suggestions for forming your search committee:
- Consult your church’s Constitution & Bylaws. Are there any written policies that may specify that a person who holds certain offices (e.g. Chairman of Deacons or Sunday School Director) are automatically included on the pastor search committee? Most church constitutions that I have read don’t get that specific, but you do need to check at least before you form your search committee.
- Keep the committee small. The larger the search committee, the more opinions that you will have in the room. And the more opinions you have in the room, the harder it will be to form a consensus, which will most likely make your pastor search last longer. If the committee determines that they must be unanimous with the selection of a candidate, you may end in a stalemate several times with a larger committee. Therefore, in my experience, the most efficient committee size has been either 5 or 7 (but not 6; it’s best to keep an odd number on the committee).
- Select members that are spiritually mature/Word-centered. This should go without saying, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. You need people on the search committee who are humble, discerning, and who don’t just believe the Bible, but they live obediently to what God’s Word says.
- Select members that don’t have an agenda. In other words, they are not concerned with finding a pastor that will cater just to their needs, particular ministry, or particular group in the church. Instead, select people who are committed to finding a pastor that will be best for the church as a whole, even if he’s not what’s best for their particular interests.
- Select members who are available to serve. There may be people in your church that meet the criteria listed in the first four suggestions, and you are confident that they would be a valuable member of the search committee. However, they maintain a very busy schedule and would not be available to attend all of your meetings. In my experience, it would be best to look for other candidates to serve on the committee instead.
There are many other considerations to keep in mind when forming your search committee, but I have found these suggestions to be most important. If you would like more detailed suggestions in forming your search committee, check out the following helpful resources: