Each denomination has its own approach to pastor-finding. Most Protestant churches will have variations of the way we Southern Baptists go about replacing preachers.
The church selects and commissions a small group of its finest as the Pastor Search Committee. Their job, in brief, is to sift through the resumes and letters of recommendations coming their way in order to find a few good men (in our denomination, pastors are almost always male) and prayerfully whittle the number down to the one they present to the congregation as “God’s man.”
Now, you’re a pastor. You’ve been serving the Middlesize Baptist Church in Smalltown, USA, and mostly loving it. You’ve been there several years, your wife is settled in, your kids are well-established with friends and activities, and the church seems reasonably satisfied with you. You have no reason to want to leave. But something happens.
A phone call informs you that the pastor search team from Bigtown is interested in you as a possible pastor since Doctor Reverend Powers retired. At their request, you send your resume, they follow up your references, and phone calls are exchanged back and forth. The committee visits your services several times, and last Thursday night, they met with you and your wife.
Today, the phone call from the chairman informs you the committee wishes to invite you to Bigtown. If you agree, one Sunday soon, you are to preach in their pulpit, after which the congregation will vote on you becoming their next shepherd. The salary, which you are just now learning, is only slightly more than what you’re making now. But that’s no matter.
You and the family begin making arrangements to be in Bigtown that weekend. You secure a pulpit replacement for that Sunday, you tell one or two of your leaders what you’re up to (pledging them to silence!), and you get serious about praying.
The decision you and that church are about to make is critical. Since one road leads to another and there’s no returning to this spot to start over, you want to act cautiously and to seek God’s will in every detail.
When you get to Bigtown Church, here’s what to look for.