You have asked tough questions. You have looked into the mirror. You have clarified your values and mission. You have formed an outstanding search team. Now what?
Before authorizing a team to begin the work of searching for a new pastor, I suggest you affirm your identity as a congregation. Remind yourself that you and your congregation are the people of God, a “chosen people,” a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.”
Did you really hear these adjectives: chosen, royal, holy, and special? Never forget those, especially when the going gets tough. Our identity provides the foundation upon which to praise and serve the Lord.
Then remind yourself that God the Father loves your church so much that he sent his Son to die for you and his Spirit to indwell you. As a result, you are the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27), as well as a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 3:16).
Then claim the promises of God! You are the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27) and God the Father, through the Spirit, gifts the church with all its needs to be faithful, including pastors (I Corinthians 12:27-28). So follow the advice of the Psalmist and trust in the Lord by pouring out your prayers of praise and thanks. Afterall, in the great scheme of things, gifting your congregation with a new pastor is not too great a challenge for the One who has already sent his Son to save the church and his Spirit to indwell the church.
But there is more. Since God
is able to do more—and desire to do more—than we ask or imagine by his power at
work among us (Ephesians 3:20), we must deny ourselves—our preferences, our
preconceived notions, our idea of who should be the next pastor. This means
that if we limit our search to what we ask or imagine, we are limiting God’s
work within us. While our insights will play a vital role in the search process,
for they are ways that God works among us, they can get in God’s way. We need
grace, then, to deny
Prayer Prompt: Lord, help us die to ourselves by claiming your promises as we begin our work together.
ChapterNext is a pastor search and church consulting firm led by Rev. Sam Hamstra. They assist congregations through a handful of services, including staff development, weekend worship workshops, leadership retreats, congregational mergers, and ministry reviews (vision and mission statements, budgets, building renovation, and marketing plans). These services grew out of ChapterNexts’ founding purpose which is to help congregations turn the page so that they can begin writing new chapters of dynamic and life-transforming ministry.