Finding a great pastor for your church is vital to keeping members engaged and the church itself growing.
The only problem is, it takes work to find the right pastor. Even if a pastor was wonderful at a previous church, they might not be the right fit for your church family.
By avoiding some common mistakes, it’s easier than you might think to find a pastor that meshes well with your members and quickly becomes an amazing shepherd as well.
Ignoring What Members Want
Your members come to church to listen and engage with their pastor. Why not ask them what they want and need? It would be like buying someone a home, but not asking them what type of home they’d like or where they want to live. It’s a recipe for disaster. Obviously, church leaders have some idea of what type of pastor is best for the church, but you should also know what type of pastor your members want as well.
Avoiding A Few Test Runs
Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates, you shouldn’t just hire someone. It sounds like a great idea, but it could just lead to members being dissatisfied with your choice. Instead, let your final candidates each preach part of a sermon for a few weeks in a row. Watch how engaged members are. Talk to them after services to see how they feel. Ask for feedback via comment cards, on your website or via social media.
Leaving Out Members During The Search
While you shouldn’t involve members who aren’t active in the church, put together a committee of active members to help with the search. Remember, your members know what type of pastor they want. Getting them involved helps you to find a great pastor much faster.
Defining What’s Most Important To Your Church
What are your church’s core values? Outside of faith itself, what’s most important? Without defining what’s important to your church, it’s hard to find a pastor that will fit with your members. The pastor you choose must be able to preach and live by those values to continue building the church culture that leaders, members and past pastors have created.
Learning Little About The Pastor
A glowing recommendation from a previous church isn’t enough to ensure you’re getting a great pastor. What methods do they prefer for engaging members? What’s their preaching style? How much time do they have to devote to ministry outside of services? What do they value most?
Think of hiring a pastor as hiring any other employee for a business. They have to be the right fit for your church’s culture and needs.
Describing Only The Positive About Your Church
It’s nice to think of your church as perfect, but no church is 100% perfect. There are arguments, volunteers that don’t always come through, dissatisfaction when making changes and more. Granted, this doesn’t mean your church isn’t a positive place. However, you should give any candidates a realistic view of your church. For instance, saying it’s just a small church, but having 300 members might overwhelm a pastor that’s only been at much smaller churches before.
Expecting The Pastor To Solve The Unresolved
Why did your previous pastor leave? If it was due to some form of conflict, don’t expect your next pastor to fix the unresolved issues. It’s up to church leadership to address any outstanding problems before bringing in a new pastor. After all, a new pastor doesn’t know the staff and members just yet. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to step in and fix everything.
Plus, if you want a great pastor to stay, bring them in to a welcoming, positive environment. They’ll have to address issues eventually, but start them off on the right foot at least. Remember, a pastor isn’t a miracle worker. Expecting them to be one may drive them away before you even get to hire them.
Is your church searching for a new pastor? Define the exact type of pastor you’re searching for on your church website to extend your search.