5 Posts About Pastor Search Teams

"With the growing number of baby boomer pastors retiring, and with wounded and weary pastors leaving the ministry, your church might be seeking your next pastor or staff member. If so, maybe one of these posts will help you" - Chuck Lawless

937 reads

There are 11 Comments

Bert Perry's picture

I have been on a couple of search committees in the past few years, and this rings true.  When my church's former senior pastor retired/resigned (he retired about a year before plan on good terms), we had a consultant come in from the GARBC, then we had an interim pastor who also counseled us a bit on our dysfunctions, and only then did we really get going on the search.  I think it worked out well--we ended up hiring one of the founders of SI, Greg Linscott.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

For me the killer was (I have given up looking) the almost universal "5/10" years experience as youth pastor, associate pastor, etc... even for relatively small churches. That meant the only people who could possibly qualify were those who had served in ministry from their 20s, starting out of college. No consideration of a 40s something seeking a career change. I can say I never heard back on almost any application, even those where I followed up and endeavored hard to make contact and establish a relationship with the committee. And yes, I stayed totally realistic. One church was even only offering $500/month it was so small. Yet they balked because my wife worked!

Mark_Smith's picture

was with a small church that had been pastorless for a year. I said pay me nothing. I simply seek experience. If after 3 months things aren't working we agree to part amicably. No formal response from them... I have no idea what most 20-100 person churches are looking for, but it isn't me... and for whatever reason God wasn't interested in it either.

AndyE's picture

Mark, I forget if you have mentioned this before, but do you have any formal Bible education that you can point committees to in order to show them that you have tried to prepare for a pastoral position, even though you don't have experience?

 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

AndyE wrote:

Mark, I forget if you have mentioned this before, but do you have any formal Bible education that you can point committees to in order to show them that you have tried to prepare for a pastoral position, even though you don't have experience?

 

 

For the record, I am no longer looking, but I have a MDiv with Highest Honors. I took 15 hours of Greek and Greek NT (beyond all the normal classes required for a MDiv with languages I took a Corinthians Greek class and later a Galatians one) and 12 hours of Hebrew. I then took some Bob Jones Seminary classes online on Revelation, and also one on Paul's Use of Greek.

Honestly, in fully applying to probably 25 churches over the last 5 years, I've never even been interviewed. I have never gotten that far. Then for 2 years I thought of starting a church from scratch but no one was interested in coming along me so I just stopped.

I honestly think finding a pastorate in my area comes down to one thing, being already known by a church or having a trustworthy connection to a school or contact at a school they know. I don't think I was seriously considered for any church I applied to (I'm talking churches within 50 miles of my home here...), even ones where I know there were only 2 or 3 applicants.

Mark_Smith's picture

I have over the last 2 years visited 25 churches in my city trying to find a new home church (we left the last one right before COVID... long story, I've written on it here at SI), and NOT ONE of those churches has a pastor with a MDiv. Its all MTh at most, or BA. The few MDiv's I know are my age or older.

Dave White's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:
I have a MDiv with Highest Honors. I took 15 hours of Greek and Greek NT (beyond all the normal classes required for a MDiv with languages I took a Corinthians Greek class and later a Galatians one) and 12 hours of Hebrew. I then took some Bob Jones Seminary classes online on Revelation, and also one on Paul's Use of Greek.

Honestly, in fully applying to probably 25 churches over the last 5 years, I've never even been interviewed. I have never gotten that far. Then for 2 years I thought of starting a church from scratch but no one was interested in coming along me so I just stopped.

I honestly think finding a pastorate in my area comes down to one thing, being already known by a church or having a trustworthy connection to a school or contact at a school they know. I don't think I was seriously considered for any church I applied to (I'm talking churches within 50 miles of my home here...), even ones where I know there were only 2 or 3 applicants.

https://www.edvasicek.com/pastoral-search-1

Kokomo

Also a song https://youtu.be/mP07Oyr7enQ

Mark_Smith's picture

Dave White wrote:

 

Mark_Smith wrote:
I have a MDiv with Highest Honors. I took 15 hours of Greek and Greek NT (beyond all the normal classes required for a MDiv with languages I took a Corinthians Greek class and later a Galatians one) and 12 hours of Hebrew. I then took some Bob Jones Seminary classes online on Revelation, and also one on Paul's Use of Greek.

 

Honestly, in fully applying to probably 25 churches over the last 5 years, I've never even been interviewed. I have never gotten that far. Then for 2 years I thought of starting a church from scratch but no one was interested in coming along me so I just stopped.

I honestly think finding a pastorate in my area comes down to one thing, being already known by a church or having a trustworthy connection to a school or contact at a school they know. I don't think I was seriously considered for any church I applied to (I'm talking churches within 50 miles of my home here...), even ones where I know there were only 2 or 3 applicants.

 

 

https://www.edvasicek.com/pastoral-search-1

Kokomo

Also a song https://youtu.be/mP07Oyr7enQ

thanks but at this point in my life I'm not moving several states away from where I'm at. My choice. 

AndyE's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:
For the record, I am no longer looking, but I have a MDiv with Highest Honors. I took 15 hours of Greek and Greek NT (beyond all the normal classes required for a MDiv with languages I took a Corinthians Greek class and later a Galatians one) and 12 hours of Hebrew. I then took some Bob Jones Seminary classes online on Revelation, and also one on Paul's Use of Greek.

I honestly think finding a pastorate in my area comes down to one thing, being already known by a church or having a trustworthy connection to a school or contact at a school they know. I don't think I was seriously considered for any church I applied to (I'm talking churches within 50 miles of my home here...), even ones where I know there were only 2 or 3 applicants.

Mark, that is great that you have received that additional training.  I'm assuming you did that later on in life, thinking the Lord might be leading you into a new direction.  I've also worked on and received a seminary degree, not a full MDiv like you, but later on in life and I know the challenges of doing that.  

I agree that your way would have been helped tremendously if you had a contact at your school that churches knew and trusted for potential new pastors.  When I was on a search committee, being a seasoned pastor meant a LOT, but we did consider other guys based on recommendations from trusted sources. I think it would have been hard for us to seriously consider someone out of the blue who had a seminary degree but no pastoral experience and no references from trusted institutions or people.  On the other hand, it sounds like many of the churches you applied to had completely unrealistic expectations, given their situation and what they could provide for a new pastor.  It seems odd, given the alarms about pastoral shortages we hear today, that no one gave you any chance at all.

Mark_Smith's picture

AndyE wrote:

 

Mark_Smith wrote:
For the record, I am no longer looking, but I have a MDiv with Highest Honors. I took 15 hours of Greek and Greek NT (beyond all the normal classes required for a MDiv with languages I took a Corinthians Greek class and later a Galatians one) and 12 hours of Hebrew. I then took some Bob Jones Seminary classes online on Revelation, and also one on Paul's Use of Greek.

 

I honestly think finding a pastorate in my area comes down to one thing, being already known by a church or having a trustworthy connection to a school or contact at a school they know. I don't think I was seriously considered for any church I applied to (I'm talking churches within 50 miles of my home here...), even ones where I know there were only 2 or 3 applicants.

 

Mark, that is great that you have received that additional training.  I'm assuming you did that later on in life, thinking the Lord might be leading you into a new direction.  I've also worked on and received a seminary degree, not a full MDiv like you, but later on in life and I know the challenges of doing that.  

 

I agree that your way would have been helped tremendously if you had a contact at your school that churches knew and trusted for potential new pastors.  When I was on a search committee, being a seasoned pastor meant a LOT, but we did consider other guys based on recommendations from trusted sources. I think it would have been hard for us to seriously consider someone out of the blue who had a seminary degree but no pastoral experience and no references from trusted institutions or people.  On the other hand, it sounds like many of the churches you applied to had completely unrealistic expectations, given their situation and what they could provide for a new pastor.  It seems odd, given the alarms about pastoral shortages we hear today, that no one gave you any chance at all.

Most of my attention at the time was with SBC churches because I had been a member and attending for over 10 years. I had the backing of the local association when I applied, and he often was the person who told me about the opening. But here's the thing, the SBC is multi-faceted organization, and many local SBC churches don't apparently trust their local association leader. I never even got a wiff from a dozen of NE Kansas churches. The ones I followed wound up hiring a very old person as pastor. 

I suspect smaller churches are in 100% preservation mode. They simply don't trust anyone they don't know.

I never applied to a "healthy" church as I knew I had no chance. 

Mark_Smith's picture

Why do churches place position opening announcements for pastor positions when they have no intention of considering anyone other than someone they already know, or who comes from some trusted source. Just tell the source!