Is Your Search Well?
Inevitably, the time will come for the pastor to move
on. Generally, it is a contemplation and
culmination of events that God will use to guide the pastor towards another
flock or different expression of ministry.
As one seminary professor has wisely said, “Not only will there be a
call to plant somewhere else, you will sense an uprooting in your current
Sadly, the pastor has to be careful in the search
process. If he is leaving a hurtful
situation, most any new church is a welcome sight. Feelings of failure and personal attacks can
inflict great damage to a man’s calling and perception of usefulness. God can
use purposeful introspection for faith-evaluation and ministry-deepening.
Then, there are the incredibly non-biblical methods a
"Pastor Search Committee" will use to find a pastor. Often they will look for
"producers" with a proven track record of "success." Polling the congregation to gauge their
preferences, a man is chosen for what he has done and can do for the church,
not for who he is in Christ. The church
should not be surprised when she gets exactly what is deserved.
The following story would be funny, if it weren’t so
true. It has bounced around for some time
in one form or another, but it really does illustrate the unbiblical
expectations of the pastoral role.
The perfect pastor
preaches exactly 10 minutes.
He condemns sin roundly, but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
He works from 8AM until midnight and is also the church janitor.
The perfect pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys
good books, and donates $30 a week to the church.
He is 29 years old and has 40 years experience.
Above all, he is handsome.
The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers and he spends
most of his time with the senior citizens.
He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that
keeps him seriously dedicated to his church.
He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when
The perfect pastor always has time for church council and all of its
He never misses the meeting of any church organization and is always busy
evangelizing the unchurched.
The perfect pastor is
always in the next church over!
If your pastor does not measure up, simply send this notice to six other
churches that are tired of their pastor, too.
Then bundle up your pastor and send him to the church at the top of the list.
If everyone cooperates, in one week you will receive 1,643 pastors.
One of them should be perfect.
One church broke the chain and got its old pastor back in less than three
And, we wonder why pastors come and go so rapidly? A biblical pastor is a rare find and a
treasure from God. He is a spiritual
gift sent from heaven (Ephesians 4:7-16).
There are crossover elements involved in the pastoral
search. Just like the secular world,
there will be resumes, correspondence, interviews, etc. Ensure you review the church
constitution. Ask for the four Bs:
by-laws, budget, bulletin, and business meeting minutes. Such documents provide great insight into the
life of the church and may prove contrary to to all the “good” things being
said by pastor search committee members.
Remember, every searching church needs help, but that does not
necessarily mean that you are the “one.”
Just because you can, does not mean that you should. The process is difficult to navigate, is
clearly personal, and relationships develop quickly. Thankfully, He will guide towards obedience.
Reason. Are you sure it is time to move on? Conflict is a normal occurrence that can be a
Reflection. Do you need a vacation? Time away will remove you from the stressors
and allow you to see the situation clearer.
Response. Are you corresponding with more than one
church search process? Involving other
churches/committees will only complicate an already difficult decision-making
© Jim Fisher, Ph.D.
Christian Education and Leadership Concepts, LLC.
Fit for the Fight,