Best Practices

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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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.…

Read More

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.…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

From the People in the Pews: On Preaching #2

As noted in my previous blog under this banner, in my role as a pastor-search consultant I have the privilege of working with pastor search teams. These incredibly dedicated groups of Christ-followers fulfill many important tasks in their efforts to discern their next pastors. One of those tasks is listening to the sermons of pastoral…

Read More

From the People in the Pews: On Preaching

In my role as a pastor-search consultant, I have the privilege of working with pastor search teams. These dedicated groups of Christ-followers, often the cream of the crop of their congregations, fulfill many important tasks in their efforts to discern their next pastors. One of those tasks is listening to the sermons of pastoral candidates.…

Read More

Seminaries 200 Years Later & Beyond

American Protestant seminaries have been around for just over 200 years. Andover (MA) Theological Seminary was the first, established in 1807. Many followed shortly thereafter. Today, few would bet money on American Protestant seminaries surviving this century. The seminary model is simply not suited for our post-modern and post-Christian context. In short, the numbers just…

Read More