Best Practices

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…

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What We Measure = What We Value

While Counterinsurgency (New York: Oxford Press, 2010) by David Kilcullen is intended for “civilian and military students and practitioners of counterinsurgency,” I discovered some insights that may help leaders of the local church. Here is one that seems helpful: what we measure reflects what we value. So, as David Kilcullen writes: Organizations manage what they…

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Forming Your Pastor Search Team

Leaders of local congregations have discovered that a strategy is but words on paper until they appoint and expect a person or group to make it become a reality. When assigning responsibility for an initiative congregational leaders usually take one of three options: the assign it to an employee or to a volunteer or to…

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Three Pastor Search Team Potholes

It is pothole season in the Midwest, that time of the year when those driving cars best keep their eyes on the road so they may avoid major cavities waiting to dent one or more of wheels. And it’s always pothole season when a pastor search team begins its work. The road before the team…

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Your congregation a frontier church or immigrant church?

Throughout the history of Christianity, I have observed two models of church planting that, for the sake of this conversation, I will label Frontier & Immigrant. Typically, the Frontier model church plant is the fruit of an evangelist who, in obedience to the call of God, brings the Gospel to a new geographic area or…

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Looking for a Coach?

The average pastoral tenure – regardless of position – is a mere three years. That’s the bad news.  The good news is, a quality search process can go a long way to ensuring your congregation’s next addition stays around for a lot longer. Over the last decade, ChapterNext has developed a reputation for sustainable search.…

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The Rise of the Pastor Search Firm

In a recent issue of the Chicago Tribune, one of the city’s daily newspapers, you will find an article by Ted Gregory entitled “Hunting heads and hearts for the Lord: Search firms take page from corporate book to match pastors with churches.” In this article, Gregory chronicles the rise of Pastor Search Firms during the…

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Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, and the Pastor Search Team

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, was wakened by a troubling dream but, once awake, couldn’t remember the dream. He sought help from the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers. “Tell me what my dream was and interpret it,” he asked. When they failed, the king ordered their execution, as well as the execution of other “wise…

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Decision-Making or Discernment Process?

Is the pastor search process a decision-making process or discernment process or a little bit of both? We are familiar with decision-making processes the goal of which is to process a decision based on predetermined values, such as credentials, experience, and other non-negotiable factors. During decision–making processes we compare options in a linear and timely…

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A Common Misstep by Search Teams

When discerning the identity of the next pastor, Search Teams, either intentional or unintentionally, evaluate pastoral candidates in, at least, five areas: Character, Competence, Chemistry (with the staff and congregation), Culture (a candidate’s fit in the community), and Credentials (such as a Master of Divinity degree, or ordination by a specific group, or membership in…

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