Monday, April 20, 2020

Pastor Search Committee / Pulpit Committee

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 (, 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!” ( 
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 (  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 under “Fundamental Doctrines,” “Doctrine,” “Calvinism,” “Baptism,” etc. 

-David R. Brumbelow,, April 20, AD 2020. 

Labels:  Pastor Search Committee, Pulpit Committee, New Pastor

Other Articles: 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Avoid Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs -Surgeon General

Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who happens to be black, has warned against comorbidities and the Corona Virus.  On April 10, 2020 he issued a warning to everyone, but also those of minority communities who have sometimes been hit harder by this pandemic.  Among other things he said,

"Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.”  -USA Surgeon General Jerome Adams 4-10-2020

He issued this warning to all Americans, and especially to those at risk with comorbidities. 

I certainly agree with the Surgeon General.  While he was specifically speaking in connection with this pandemic, all Americans, of every race, at all times, would be better off, safer, if they “avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.”  See my book, “Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence,” and other articles here at for more evidence. 

Wishing and praying all of you have a safe journey through this pandemic. 

In addition, WHO and others have recently pointed out the following information.  Sounds much like what preachers have been saying all along: 
No amount of alcohol is safe, according to The Global Burden of Diseases study, which analyzed levels of alcohol use and its health effects in 195 countries from 1990 to 2016.
While the study's authors say that moderate drinking may safeguard people against heart disease, they found that the potential to develop cancer and other diseases offsets these potential benefits, as do other risks of harm.”

-David R. Brumbelow,, 4-13-AD 2020. 


Other Articles at lower right margin.  

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Evangelists Face Career Upheaval - COVID-19

NASHVILLE (BP) -- This time a year ago, Tom Tucker, a revivalist and evangelist based out of Rock Hill, S.C., had speaking engagements booked on all but one Sunday. This spring, Tucker’s calendar is empty -- all of his plans for the next two months have been suddenly canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Tucker and others who make their full-time living on the road, preaching the Gospel at various events, conferences and churches, the nationwide shutdown of gatherings is especially financially detrimental.

Just two weeks ago, Tucker was driving home after speaking at multiple church services. His entire spring schedule was filled. But it only took hours for the cancellations to begin rolling in as the government issued guidelines for social distancing and restrictions on gatherings.
"I knew then that pastors would be calling me, and they did," Tucker said, "and everything was canceled."

Bill Britt, president of Compel Outreach International in Haughton, La., echoed Tucker's sentiment.

"Just a few weeks ago, no one would have remotely understood what was about to happen around the world," Britt said.

Britt, whose organization has had events canceled all across the U.S. and other countries, said evangelists find themselves in a period of waiting. No one knows when travel -- and beyond that, speaking engagements -- will resume.

Gary Bowlin, president of the Louisiana Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, said COVID-19 came at the worst time for evangelists.
"Our revivals and events have been canceled during one of our busiest times of the year," Bowlin said.

"We're all in a holding pattern," Tucker added.

Tucker began his ministry as a full-time evangelist only a year ago. He said it took a lot of trust to surrender his life to that call. But as the effects of COVID-19 came to fruition, Tucker found himself asking God what was happening.

"When all this stuff started happening, I said 'Lord what are you doing? This is what you called us to do,'" Tucker said.

The nationwide shutdown not only eliminates the evangelist's travel and ministry, but his income. Bowlin noted that many evangelists rely on love offerings and don't have guaranteed salaries. Britt said the cancellation of spring events could mean the loss of the majority of an evangelist's income.

"As long as churches are not meeting, then the evangelists are receiving no love offerings from these churches," Britt said. "The evangelist receives the bulk or all of his income through these events where he is scheduled to minister. Even if the shutdown lasts another six to eight weeks, that will mean no income for the evangelist for months. This could be devastating for many ministries across the country."

Some churches are still sending love offerings to evangelists, Tucker said, adding that he is glad many churches have already begun rescheduling events for the fall season. Tucker encouraged congregations to seek to care for those who rely on their financial support as best they can.
Britt also said churches and individuals should try reach out to evangelists and their families. But the change in direction for the moment brings a new opportunity for revival, Tucker noted.

"This is going to make the church do some different things," Tucker said. "I'm sensing there's a hunger, and it may be that God has just slowed us down to realize that we need Him, and we need Him desperately."

Tucker said he hopes that with a revival of the Gospel, and individuals turning the God, the need for evangelists will become greater than ever.

"I'm praying that it's [COVID-19] going to escalate [revivals] to where all of us are busier than we've ever been when this is over with," Tucker said.

The message for the church now, Tucker said, is revival, and out of revival comes evangelism.
Amid physical and economic concerns prompted by the pandemic, Bowlin said many people might be more receptive to the Gospel.

"It is possible that we could see the beginning of another spiritual awakening in America," Bowlin said.

And Bowlin noted that the sudden emptiness of evangelists' calendars hasn't caught God by surprise.

"I find great comfort in that, knowing He is in control," Bowlin emphasized. "Obviously, we have never faced anything like this. It has been a time of great peace for me knowing that God has a reason for allowing this and great good will come from it."
Bowlin and many other evangelists are using other means such as YouTube and Facebook to still minister to people.

"God will direct us, and we have a burning desire in our hearts to tell people that Jesus saves," Bowlin said. "We hope and pray we can be back in churches soon, but we know God is in control, and we will follow Him."

Britt said he utilizes social media to host virtual services and has tried to post things that align with his calling while he is unable to travel.

"All of us want to stay busy sharing the Gospel and exercising our gifts and calling even during this time," Britt said.

Sammy Tippit, president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, said evangelists need to be preparing to move to forms of digital outreach, adding that the pandemic hasn't so much begun the move as accelerated what was already happening.

Tippit said he hopes that when the restrictions of the pandemic are lifted, evangelists will be able to act on new ideas and strategies. Importantly, he said that might also apply to new ways to earn income -- perhaps including raising support or finding positions on church staffs.

But as changes unfold and ministry platforms adjust to the current needs of the global body of Christ, evangelists are capitalizing on the time and temporarily limited geographic space they have been given to live on mission for the Gospel.

Tucker said he just wants to seek what God is doing in this situation, staying faithful to his calling and trusting the Lord.

"We're sitting here waiting, but it doesn't mean we're not doing anything," Tucker said.
Tucker recounted a recent experience waiting in line at a grocery store. He stood behind a woman with a cart full of toilet paper as she complained and expressed frustration. Tucker took the opportunity to start a conversation and share the Gospel, and ended up leading the woman to Christ.

That experience, Tucker said, reminded him again of the purpose the Lord has given believers.
"Let's not be so selfish about what's going on in our lives," Tucker said, "because there's others that need Jesus."

- by Tess Schoonhoven, Baptist Press staff writer; 

-David R. Brumbelow,, April 2, AD 2020. 


Other Articles in lower right margin.