by Chris Brauns
Moody Publishers 2010
A few years back I enjoyed reading a little book about a missionary’s experiences while on deputation. Anyone who has been close to a missionary knows the joys and trials of trying to raise support. I have often thought someone should write a book for mission committees on how to handle the deputation process. Having been a pastoral candidate a few times, I am glad someone has written a book for pastoral search committees. Chris Brauns has done churches and pastoral candidates a great service with this book, subtitled Biblical Principles and Practices To Guide Your Search.
Having profited greatly from Brauns’ first book I was anxious to read this his second. Additionally, the fact that my son-in-law was going through the process as I was reading the book heightened my interest. I couldn’t help but reflect on my own experiences with various search committees, some of which were more effective than others, but none as detailed as Brauns prescribes (perhaps good for me or I may have never received a call).
A Word-centered church
He begins with a much needed emphasis on the part prayer must have in the process. He believes that prayer should be fervently and consistently offered for the search committee, the next pastor (whomever he may be) and the congregation. He even offers some specific requests (which also allows him to express a few caveats).
As the title suggests, the author has a clear premise. “This priority on being Word-centered is one that must be pursued for churches looking for a pastor” (p. 37). The practical results of such a priority are two-fold:
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First, a Word-centered pastoral search committee will evaluate candidates against biblical qualifications…. The second practical outcome of forming a Word-centered pastoral search committee is that the committee will see the need to call a pastor who will preach the Word. (pp. 39-40)