Best Practices

Question #6

Are you familiar with the question “What is the elephant in the room?” This nonsensical question is a metaphorical idiom for an obvious problem that people don’t want to talk about. The situation is as noticeable as an elephant would be if sitting in your living room or at your dinner table. More recently, a…

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Question #5

In what is called “The Great Commission,” Jesus commands his apostles to make disciples by going, baptizing, and teaching. While it took them a while to go, they finally got around to it with a lot of help from Barnabas, Paul, and the Church of Antioch.  We are here as a result of their work.…

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Question #4

“What do you mean by asking, ‘Is Christ really head of our church?’ You might answer automatically, “Of course he is for the Bible tells me so!” You have a point. Paul does affirm that Christ “is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18). So let’s ask the question differently. Is Christ a…

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Question #3

Typically, as soon as a pastor announces that he or she has accepted a call, the leaders of the congregation, with no questions asked, form a pastor search (replacement) team. They seemingly assume that the church should enter the future by repeating the past, rather than viewing their pastor’s departure as a time to explore…

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Question #2

“I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18 NIV) The leadership of Grace Church was facing a pastoral vacancy, a recurring challenge in the life of a congregation. They were also challenged by declining worship attendance,…

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Question #1: “Where Do We Begin?”

There is not much more unsettling for a congregation than a pastoral vacancy. When we are without a resident pastor, our life as a church seems to be off a beat or stalled, even injured unable to run at full steam. And there are few tasks more daunting than serving on a pastor search team.…

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Scouting for Prospective Pastors

If you were asked to scout a college campus or a congregation for prospective pastors, where would you begin? What would you like for? During my baseball playing and coaching days, I learned that if I asked a similar question of a scout looking for prospective professional baseball players, he would have a ready response.…

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The Pastor Search: A Discernment Practice

Some Pastor Search teams may approach their task as if they were a human resource office sifting through resumes, interviewing their perceived list of top candidates, and selecting the person whose resume best matches the position description at hand. In my work coaching Pastor Search teams, I approach the task as a discernment process wherein…

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Attributes of Great Pastor Search Team Members

If your congregation is about to begin a search for a new pastor, you, with a handful of others, will be tasked with forming a Pastor Search Team (PST). What qualities will you look for in potential candidates for this important responsibility? Having worked with over fifty search teams in my role as a pastor…

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Jesus’ Position Description as Shepherd of the Sheep?

Having had the privilege of being raised in a family dedicated to Christ and His Church, I often heard the word “under-shepherd” as a reference to the pastor. The meaning of the word required minimal explanation. We knew Christ as the great shepherd of the sheep and viewed the pastor as the one responsible for…

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