The Process of Interviewing Pastoral Candidates

Chances are, you’ve been in a job interview before. Most of us have. But not everyone sits on “the other side of the desk,” asking the interview questions. So how do you know where to begin? What questions do you ask? And what’s legal to ask? After all, we’re not HR experts!

We began the process of choosing our next pastor by evaluating resumes and other paperwork. In the PCA, the most in-depth document is the Ministerial Data Form, or MDF (other denominations have something similar, I’m told). In addition to paperwork, we listened to at least three sermons. This may sound like a time-consuming task.

You’d be right – it is. But it was made easier by our committee structure.

Our Process: The Power of Subcommittees

We divided our seven-member committee into three subcommittees of two members each (the chairman “floated” and wasn’t on a subcommittee.) When a new candidate’s name arrived, he was assigned to a subcommittee. If we received names of Candidates A, B, and C, they were each assigned to different subcommittees. Everyone listened to at least one sermon by every candidate, but the assigned subcommittee listened more fully. Here’s how we worked it out: Continue reading “The Process of Interviewing Pastoral Candidates”

Should Your Church Use a Search Consultant?

Don’t ever assume that your church

  1. doesn’t need to work with a search consultant OR
  2. can’t afford a consultant OR
  3. must work with one.

The question of whether or not to use a pastoral search consultant or a search firm is rarely an easy one. I’m not here to tell you which is right for your church. From its size, to its budget, to its internal culture, every church is unique.

For our church’s needs, we chose to work with a consultant, Dr. Charles McGowan, even though our budget was stretched paper-thin at the time. We saw the obvious benefits; we just weren’t sure if it was good stewardship of God’s resources, considering our financial situation. Looking back now, we see that the benefits easily outweighed the cost involved.

The question of whether or not to use a pastoral search consultant or a search firm is rarely an easy one. From its size, to its budget, to its internal culture, every church is unique.

Continue reading “Should Your Church Use a Search Consultant?”

Pastoral Search: Getting the Word Out

Spread the Word

Once your pastoral search committee has finished the preliminary work (creating the church profile, the pastor profile, etc.) you’re ready to put out the “We’re Hiring” sign. Before you post your information, you might want to think about Facebook. Why think about the social media goliath? One simple reason.

Female archer aiming at a target during archery competitionCompanies large and small choose to place ads on Facebook because their ads allow you to target an audience based on a variety of factors. You can reach people based on their demographics, location, interests, contact information, or behaviors.

In the same way,  spreading the word about your church position should be tightly focused, targeting the types of people most likely to be your next pastor. Continue reading “Pastoral Search: Getting the Word Out”

Crafting a Pastor Profile

One of the most important tasks of a pastoral search committee – after prayer – is writing the pastor profile (the job description).

The profile will determine who chooses to apply for your position – and who doesn’t. Just like any other job opening, the job-seeker — if he’s honest — will not apply for every job he reads about. Even if a doctor has years of  experience in the field of cardiac medicine, she shouldn’t apply for an opening as a brain surgeon. Not all fields of medicine are equal.

The same is true of pastoral positions. Some churches need a youth and Christian education pastor; others are seeking a senior pastor. Some have the gifting and personality making them perfect for a pastor of congregational care, visiting people in the hospital, caring for the sick and elderly, performing funerals, etc. Continue reading “Crafting a Pastor Profile”

Starting a Pastoral Search Committee

In the PCA, the Book of Church Order allows for two options when forming a pastoral search committee: the session (the board of elders) can serve as the committee or it can be made up of laypeople from the congregation. At least two different pastoral search consultants recommend against the first option, including the consultant we worked with, Dr. Charles McGowan.
The elders did have a say in putting together the committee.

First, the elders created a job description/list of expectations for the members of the search committee (see the list of Expectations here). Next, they put together a slate of recommended names and presented that slate to the congregation for approval.

Continue reading “Starting a Pastoral Search Committee”