“We walk by faith and not by sight….” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
“Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).
Listen to the conversation inside many a pastor search committee…
“We should stick close to this profile on the ideal candidate for our church. That’s our best guarantee the next pastor will be right for us and will stay a long time.”
“The congregation is not going to like it if we recommend this man. He’s overweight and nearly bald.”
“I’ve already gotten the word from some of our best givers that they want Pastor Hensnest, and if we don’t recommend him, they’re moving their membership. I don’t think we can chance losing them.”
“We can’t be too careful, people. This pastor is good but he’s unemployed. There must be a reason. If he were as great as he seems, the last church would have kept him.”
“He’s a good preacher, I grant you that. But his church is declining. That should tell us something. I’m afraid of him, guys.”
“Everyone speaks well of this pastor. But he doesn’t have a degree from a recognized seminary.” “He doesn’t have a doctorate.” “His wife works outside the home.” “One of his children married a person of another race.” “He still wears suits in the pulpit.” (Or, “He never wears a necktie in the pulpit.”)
“I know some of you on the committee believe God is leading us to that pastor, but not me. I can’t get past the one bad recommendation we got on him. Granted, it was from a man kicked out of the church for drunkenness and adultery, but we just can’t be too careful.”
“The pastor has a lot going for him, I’ll give you that. But the staff member he fired said he’s a bully. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, people. Let’s look at some other candidates.”
“I want us to find the perfect candidate for our church. We deserve the best.”
“That pastor lives in a small house, even though he can afford better. I’m afraid he wouldn’t fit in our wonderful church.”
“Let’s be realistic, people. We want a pastor who will look good in the pulpit. After all, since our church is on television, we want to have a good image in the community.”
The sounds of fear are all about us. Listen closely and you will notice they sound a lot like a lack of faith.
–Maybe the last church was a sick congregation, or one run by a bully who couldn’t get the preacher to obey him.
–Maybe he’s unemployed because the last church didn’t recognize a jewel when they had one.
–Maybe that church is locating in a declining community where no preacher is going to put up positive numbers. Don’t those churches need good pastors too?
–Maybe that church made the worst mistake of their lives by getting rid of that pastor. But the fact that he is “between pulpits,” as we say, is scaring off many a search committee.
Churches should put only mature people of a godly faith on their search committees.
Forget polling the congregation about what they want in a pastor. Whose idea was that? The only One who should be polled is the Living God, and you do that on your knees.
Get the congregation to praying diligently. Members of the search committee should be praying as they have never prayed before. And that means something very critical to the process….
What praying for God’s leadership means….
–When you ask God to lead you, you must want His will above everything else.
–When you ask God to lead you, you must be obeying His will as you already understand it.
–When you ask God to lead you, you must be willing to wait upon Him. He has His own schedule and takes His own good time. (Keep saying this to the congregation. Their impatience has rushed many a search committee to make mistakes which took years to recover from.)
–When you ask God to lead you, you must be prepared for surprises. He doesn’t like doing the same thing twice, so forget about asking Him to clone the favorite pastor who just left.
–When you ask God to lead you, you will turn away from a lot of good choices. You are waiting for only one, the one He is giving you.
–When you ask God to lead you, after you recognize how He is leading, do not assume this means your work is through. Keep your wits about you and do your job. Run the references, check his background (criminal and credit checks included!), and leave out none of the steps. The fact that you now have the Lord’s pastor for your church will not automatically guarantee anything other than an opportunity to do something special for God. Be faithful and do your job.
Keep reminding yourself, search committee…
This is the Lord’s Church. You are His children redeemed by the blood of Jesus. You are on an errand for Him. His will (His vote) is the only one that counts. Pleasing Him is your goal. Your trust is in the Lord, not in any preacher.
Now, show yourself to be people of faith. Let God do something wonderful in His church. Ask Him to use you for that purpose.