I’ve given the following information for a Baptist Church seeking a pastor. It is geared more toward a smaller church. Hope some will find this useful.
Electing a Pastor Search Committee / Pulpit Committee
1. Have an announced Business Meeting for the purpose of electing a Pulpit Committee.
2. Do not just open the floor up for nominations. Sometimes someone not qualified immediately volunteers (or is nominated); then no one wants to offend them, so they are elected. Then, you have a mess.
3. One option is to have each person put three (or 4, 5) names on a card. The three who receive the most votes are elected.
Or, have them write names of two (or three) men, and two women.
Note: To avoid embarrassment, it may be best not to announce how many votes each person receives. Just mention the ones who received the most votes.
4. Another option is for leadership (deacons, staff, etc.) to nominate three (or more) representative people for the committee. Then, the church votes on this nomination.
5. The committee will have two primary jobs.
Find supply preachers or an interim pastor.
Second, begin the search for a pastor.
Your Director of Missions, local Baptist Association, or a neighboring pastor or evangelist may be of help in this process. But your church as the final say.
Pastor Search Committee
1. Have the church vote on a Pastor Search Committee (aka Pulpit Committee). A church usually varies between men and women, age, and other diverse issues. Make sure they are mature, knowledgeable church members. Usually 3 or more.
2. Get the word out, that you are seeking a pastor, to the Southern Baptist Texan (or your own state Baptist paper), local Baptist Association, Louisiana Baptist Message (baptistmessage.com), HBU, SWBTS, ABU, ETBU; Criswell College; LC; or others. Maybe contact an evangelist or pastor. Narrow down resumes.
An ad such as: Seeking Pastor. Friendship Baptist Church, mailing address, city, state, zip code; website, email address. (You may want to just give a mailing address. Do you really want to print out 30 resumes?)
3. Be mindful of the biblical qualifications of a pastor: 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9. Remember the biblical terms “pastor (shepherd),” “bishop (overseer),” “elder” refer to the same office of pastor.
4. Does the pastoral candidate sincerely agree with the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention? Does he believe in the fundamental (basic) doctrines of Christianity? Does he believe in Baptist Distinctive doctrines? Does he believe in the inerrancy of the Bible (the Bible is totally true and trustworthy)? Does he believe personal faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven and salvation? Ask him about his view of same-sex marriage. If you use the old Church Covenant, ask him about it.
5. What does he believe about evangelism, local revival meetings, evangelists, missions, Sunday School, Second Coming (premillennial or other), drugs and alcohol, visiting, getting along with church members?
6. Is he Calvinist (Reformed Baptist, Doctrines of Grace)? All Baptists are to some degree Calvinist, but does he believe Jesus died for all humanity, or just the elect? Does he believe God chooses some people for Heaven, and some for Hell? Does he believe anyone can be saved? See Adrian Rogers’ booklet on “Predestined for Hell? Absolutely Not!” (lwf.org).
If a church wants a Calvinist pastor, they certainly have the right to call one. On the other hand, if a church desires a non-Calvinist (aka Moderate Calvinist; Traditionalist) as pastor, they have the right to seek and call him.
7. Will he be supportive of the Southern Baptist Convention, Southern Baptists of Texas, local Baptist Association, Southern Baptist Texan? Is he comfortable being a conservative Southern Baptist? Is he supportive of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for the International Mission Board; Cooperative Program; Samaritan’s Purse; Gideons?
8. Has he lived, and does he live, a life that is morally clean? In this sense is he blameless? Ask him to tell about his wife and family. Will he agree to a sex offender background check? Is he careful in counseling others? Does he pay his debts?
9. Ask about his personal salvation (testimony), baptism, call to preach, education, his experience, and his daily walk with the Lord.
10. Ask who are some of his favorite preachers, authors. What Bible translation does he use?
11. What are some of his hobbies, interests? Hunting, fishing, sports, gardening, etc.?
12. Check his references. Maybe check with his Baptist Association Director of Missions or the SBTC.
13. When the time comes for him to leave, is he willing to leave on a positive note? Even if things have not worked out well? After all, if you call him, you would call him to help, not hurt your church. On the other hand, the church needs to be sure to treat him well.
14. Discuss salary and cost of living adjustments (COLA). Pay him as well as you are able; he has to pay his bills and provide for his family like everyone else.
Give him a raise when you can (note: a COLA is not a raise in salary, it is just keeping up with inflation).
Discuss a parsonage or if he wants to purchase his own home. The parsonage should be considered his as long as he is your pastor; respect his, and his family’s privacy.
Discuss his retirement with GuideStone Financial Resources, SBC. If possible, the church should give an amount equal to 10% of his salary, but not taken out of his salary, to his GuideStone retirement. He may choose to take an additional amount out of his regular salary for the church to send to GuideStone for his retirement. This is important. GuideStone can also give guidance about retirement, as well as guidance about a preacher’s taxes (guidestone.org). You can also call them for information.
Consider investing his retirement in the Equity Index Fund, a fund that roughly mirrors the S & P 500. It has done well for me through the years.
15. Would he be supportive of Spanish language ministry, or other special ministries your church may have? Would he be supportive of your present staff?
16. Discuss the kind of worship music: Traditional, Contemporary, Blended service.
17. Don’t get too picky. No pastor is perfect. But beware of someone with a good personality, that does not meet other qualifications.
18. During this process be positive and supportive of your church. And, pray, pray, pray for God’s guidance.
19. The committee may want to go hear him preach at his church, or get him to preach at an area church where you can hear him.
Once the committee is agreed, have him preach at your church “In View of a Call.” This means that afterward you would recommend him to the church, and the church vote on whether or not to call him as pastor.
Is he a good, biblical preacher? Does he care about the lost? Does he preach in a way that is interesting and easy to understand?
20. Don’t leave a preacher hanging. Be up front and honest with him. If you have personally dealt with him, let him know if you are no longer considering him as pastor. Treat him well.
Note on Interim Pastor or Supply Preachers
Many prefer to have an Interim Pastor or Supply Preacher who in no way would be interested in becoming the regular pastor. Otherwise, the Pulpit Committee may be ready to call a pastor while a group in the church may be wanting the interim as pastor, leading to division.
On the other hand, some small churches will purposely get a prospective pastor to supply preach a Sunday or two just to check him out. Just keep all this in mind.
Also, if he is presently a pastor, during this process you cannot expect him to take off more than a Sunday from his church.
You can find other doctrinal information at gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com under “Fundamental Doctrines,” “Doctrine,” “Calvinism,” “Baptism,” etc.
-David R. Brumbelow, gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com, April 20, AD 2020.
Labels: Pastor Search Committee, Pulpit Committee, New Pastor
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