When Churches Take Too Long to Find a New Pastor
I wish I had objective data on the length of time between pastors. I can say anecdotally the time is much longer than it used to be. A whole lot longer.
To be clear, I know we cannot presume on the call of God. I get that. But, all things considered, more and more churches are struggling because they are going longer periods of time without a pastor. Attendance often declines. Budget giving often declines. Morale often declines.
So why are search committees and appointment processes (I will refer to all search entities as search committees for simplicity) taking so much longer? I see six clear reasons
1. There are no longer ready-made networks to provide a steady supply of pastors for churches. Denominations and other networks could provide a list of names in the past, many of whom could fit most churches in that network. Today, churches are different more than uniform. Communities are more diverse. The “denominationally-groomed-and-ready” pastor just does not exist today.
2. Search committees are often poorly equipped to find pastors. They typically do not know the right places to go and the right people to ask. They don’t have time to devote to seeking applicants and culling through resumes. Most don’t know the profile of a best qualified applicant.
3. Search committees often still use old paradigms. Advertise in denominational or network publications. Wait for a flood of resumes to arrive with mostly unqualified candidates. Go to a candidate’s church to hear a sermon. Go through resumes one by one in an excruciatingly slow and painful process. Wait. Wait. Wait.
4. Many search committees don’t use a search firm. I’ve heard all the reasons not to do so. Some think it costs too much. But most churches save a lot of money and time using a search firm. For example, during prolonged interim periods church giving usually declines—which can lead to financial struggles. Other churches think the search firm chooses the pastors for them. No, the search firm finds qualified candidates for the church to choose (Full disclosure: Vanderbloemen Search Group (Vanderbloemen.com) is a sponsor of Rainer on Leadership podcast. They are incredible!)
5. Search committees often represent a cross section of the church rather than the most qualified members. I understand the sentiment to have every group in the church represented. Unfortunately, such representation is not often commensurate with qualification. And an unqualified search committee is most often a slow search committee.
6. Some search committees and churches don’t think it is spiritual to find a new pastor too quickly. In most cases, a church should be able to get a new pastor in six months or less. God is really able to work that punctually. There is nothing inherently spiritual about taking a year or two years or more finding a new pastor. In fact, in many cases it is really bad stewardship to take that long.
Many churches are simply taking too long to find a new pastor.
As a consequence, many congregations are struggling without a leader to guide them.
This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on April 30. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer
- British mother infuriated by docs’ eagerness to abort ‘Down’s baby’
- Study Shows Costs Of Legal Marijuana Exceeds Revenues 4:1
- Billy Graham Chaplains Witness Three Testimonies in California Fires
- Trump’ ‘Impossible’ Tax Cuts and Deregulation Spark Historic Economic Boom
- Joni Eareckson Tada Receives New Cancer Diagnosis
If the Radical Left Takes Over, You Can Kiss Your Freedoms Goodbye
The pattern is as predictable as it is obvious. When the left (especially the far left) talks about freedom, it means freedom for those who conform....
I’m a Jesus-Follower, Not an Older, White, Male, Conservative American
It’s true that I prefer the Republican Party platform to the Democratic Party platform, hands down. It’s true that I’m a moral conservative...
Stop Obsessing Over Social Media Metrics and Start Obsessing Over Ideas
One of the great mistakes of the social media age is obsessing over metrics at the expense of ideas. There are so many digital tools today that...
Christian university, Christian Post indicted in $35 Million fraud
Manhattan District Attorney has charged Olivet University, which also ties in Christian Media Corporation, publishers of The Christian Post on $35...
It took 1000 coffees, but you've ﬁnished your book...
So where to now?
That's where we come in.
We have a team of publishing professionals ready to help you bring your book from your laptop to the world.
We offer cover design, typeset, eBook conversion, and competitive print prices. Oh and you'll also be on Amazon and thousands of websites worldwide.
Let us help you take the next step.LEARN MORE