Pastor Search

5 Books To Read When Searching for a Pastor

If your church is searching for a new pastor, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding resources to assist you in your search. In fact, a quick Google search for “pastor search resources” yields 38 million results. Similarly, an Amazon search yields 682 different books and other resources related to the topic.

Suffice it to say there is no shortage of pastor search resources on the market. While I have spent a great deal of time studying this topic, there are many more resources I haven’t reviewed than those I have.

However, if you’re looking for pastor search book recommendations, here are five that I have read that I believe might benefit your church in the days ahead.

#1: When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search by Chris Brauns

If you’re looking for a step-by-step manual for your Pastor Search Committee, this book is not the one for you. While there are practical elements within the book, its strength is that it provides a biblical foundation for the search process.

As one of the endorsements states on the back cover, “This isn’t the only book you should read prior to launching your search, but it is the first.” Author Chris Brauns carefully and effectively reminds the reader of several biblical truths that must undergird your search process. His main point is that the Search Committee that allows God’s Word to be their compass during the search will avoid several unnecessary mistakes along the journey.

If you’re looking for a book to assist your Search Team in developing the proper mindset, start with Brauns’ book.

#2: Pastor Search Committee Handbook by Lifeway Christian Resources

As the title implies, this book is the opposite of the first recommendation. This resource is a step-by-step handbook that walks the Pastor Search Committee through each step of the search process. It was originally authored in 2002 by a group of consultants who regularly work with Pastor Search Committees. Because of its practical value, it was reprinted in 2018.

If you’re looking for a practical tool to assist your Pastor Search Committee, this resource is still one of the best available. It’s filled with helpful templates as well.

#3: Search by William Vanderbloemen

William Vanderbloemen leads a Christian Executive Search Firm specializing in assisting larger churches searching for a new pastor or staff member. His book, Search: The Pastoral Search Committee Handbook, is one of the most helpful books on the market for the Pastor Search Committee.

The best feature of Vanderbloemen’s book is that he provides both the what and the why of the pastor search process. He spends a great deal of time talking about the importance of the search, the need for prayer, the reasons why a pastor resigns, and the characteristics needed in Pastor Search Committee members before talking about the details of the pastor search process.

While it doesn’t dive as deep into the why as When the Word Leads Your Search or as deep into the what as the Pastor Search Committee Handbook, it provides a helpful balance of both approaches. For this reason, if I can only recommend a single book for a Pastor Search Committee, it is usually Vanderbloemen’s Search

#4: Seeking God to Seek a Pastor by Greg Frizzell

This book is much older, but it is still a tremendous resource for churches during a pastor search. This book’s unique focus is on assisting churches and Pastor Search Committees to experience spiritual renewal and growth during the interim period. In addition, nearly half the book contains practical resources to help the Pastor Search Committee. 

While copies of this book may be harder to find, it is well worth the effort. At the time of this post, the book is still available on Amazon.

#5: The Church During the Search

I can’t have a list of pastor search book recommendations and not include my own book on the list! If you’re not familiar with my book, you can read more about it here.

The Church During the Search is unique in that it focuses on the pastor search period from the perspective of the average church member rather than the Pastor Search Committee. The book provides six commitments that every church member should make to honor the Lord while they wait for their next pastor. 

The book has helped many churches since its release last year. In fact, one of the churches that used the book recently approved their Pastor Search Committee’s recommended candidate with a unanimous vote for the first time in at least the past 50 years! Praise the Lord!

Other Books

Many other books probably could have been on this list. While I’ve read several on the topic, I certainly haven’t read all of them. What books would you add to the list?

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