In a post last week, I noted five pleas from pastors to search committee. In this post, I share some pleas I have heard to pastors from search committees.
As I noted last week, congregations across America call pastors to their churches in a variety of ways. As church polity varies, so do the approaches of calling a pastor. A bishop or other authority appoints some pastors. Sometimes an elder board decides who will be considered as the next pastor. Many times, however, the responsibility for recommending a pastor to a congregation falls upon a pastor search committee.
The search committee is typically comprised of lay leaders voted on by the congregation or nominated by some group in the church. Occasionally, the membership may include a current pastoral staff member.
In my conversations with search committees, many of the members have shared with me how pastors can best make the process more effective. Here are five of their “pleas.”
- “Tell us when you are no longer interested.” We could be spending a lot of time checking your references, doing credit checks, and listening to podcasts of your sermons. Please let us know so we can move to another candidate.
- “Let us know of any major personal issues on the front end so we are not surprised.” We will likely conduct a credit check, a legal background check, and a social media check. Tell us in advance if there are issues we might find. That does not mean we will automatically eliminate you from consideration.
- “Please share with us if your family is struggling with the possibility of a move.” We know that a move to another church and another town is a major disruption in your family’s life. You will not be happy and productive if they are unhappy. Let’s work through those issues on the front end.
- “If you are in serious discussions with another church or churches, please let us know.” We may be dealing solely with you with the perception that you are doing likewise with us. We could, therefore, lose a lot of time if we only deal with you, and then discover that you have decided to go to another church.
- “Please respond as promptly as possible to our requests.” The pastor search process is arduous and often lengthy. Help us as much as you can so we can keep moving toward some type of decision.
You might want to compare this post to last week’s post from the pastors’ perspective.
What has been your experience with pastor search committees? What do you think of these pleas?