A search committee member called me not long ago asking for help in getting more resumes submitted to their pastor search committee. After just a few minutes on the phone I identified the problem this committee had. It was nothing intentional on their part, but I identified five mistakes that were making their pool of potential candidates shallow.
The way I see it…single staffed churches who are searching for a pastor don’t communicate enough details when posting an open position.
Here are five areas churches should be crystal clear and up front about when seeking the next pastor.
- Salary – Save everyone time by being up front with what the position pays. It’s really unfair to string a potential pastor along only to find out what you offer doesn’t meet his needs. Along the same lines, your committee should be realistic in the salary package. Doing due diligence and researching what the cost of living is in your area is a good starting point. If you can’t afford to pay a full time salary, clearly state the position is part-time and be accommodating with his needs to seek additional employment.
- Expectations – the scope of responsibility should be reflected in the salary. Pastors tend to be on call 24/7 so be conscious of work/life balance. You are looking for the next shepherd of the congregation, not a hireling. Build into the salary package more vacation time and sabbaticals.
- Mission – refrain from including only a list of tasks you expect the pastor to do. Lean into where you want him to lead the church in reaching the community. If you are only looking for someone to fill the pulpit and visit the sick, you are missing the purpose of the church. Discussions around the Great Commission should be made a priority when seeking the next pastor.
- Include information about your community, and church. To the same degree you want the candidate to share about his life, calling, family and ministry, you should be as revealing about the church and its history. Offering a snapshot of demographics and history will give each candidate an idea of what kind of leader the church is looking for.
- Process – Spell out the steps in your search process. Each candidate is looking at more than your church. Help them anticipate how long your committee thinks it will take and the specific time frame the candidate can expect the next communication from the search team.
Finding the next pastor is a two way street. You aren’t just interviewing him, he’s also interviewing you. Make the search smoother and less confusing by being more transparent in these areas. What are your thoughts?