How To Keep Christ The Center Of Your Pastoral Search Process
The pastoral search process can feel exhausting, overwhelming, and scary. However, it’s also an incredible opportunity to see God move among your congregation, search committee, and church staff in new ways.
Keeping a spiritual focus is vital to a successful pastoral search. The process is important, but don’t forget that the purpose of the process is to seek who God is already raising up to be your pastor. When you keep the Holy Spirit as your guide throughout the process, you’ll be able to see God’s hand through each step.
Here a few ways that you can keep your search committee focused on discerning whom God is calling to fill the role vacant on your church staff.
1. Pray Expectantly
Pray individually and as a search committee regularly and expectantly. We see the power of prayer on a daily basis as we help our clients discern whom God is calling to serve at their church.
Open each of your pastor search committee meetings with prayer. Here are a couple of verses to guide your prayers.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
James 4:3 “When you ask, you do not receive…”
2. Pray Intentionally
Jesus used an intentional order in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 where His primary focus is God and His glory. Using this model, set up an intentional prayer schedule for your pastor search committee. Our Candidate Team here at Vanderbloemen prays before each of our weekly meetings in order to set the heart, mind, and tone for where we are headed. Every step of our process is covered in prayer, as we want to be vessels for Christ as we help churches discern whom God is calling to them.
3. Keep a Humble Heart
One of the biggest stumbling blocks we see pastor search committees face are members of the committee who are naysayers or place their personal agenda above what is best for the church. These members of the search committee are toxic to the search process and can make it very difficult for the entire committee to discern whom God is calling to the church. Don’t be one of the negative search committee members by remembering this verse in Philippians.
Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
4. Fellowship Together
Building trust among your committee members is crucial to a successful search. Spend quality time together as a team where you don’t talk about the search and solely focus on getting to know each other better. Have meals together. Ask each other how you came to know Christ, your family, work life, and hobbies. When you understand each other well, you’ll have less conflict and be able to focus on Christ during your search process.
5. Fast Together
Seek the Lord through fasting. Whether it’s fasting from one meal a week together or for a whole day or more, spend that time in prayer, seeking the Lord about your pastoral search process. Pray for your future pastor and his or her family. Pray for your congregation. Share what you learned from your time of fasting during your meetings.
6. Remember Christ’s Promises
Be intentional about the scripture you personally and the team collectively are ingesting during your pastoral search process. Focus on Scripture where God highlights His vast goodness and greatness. Here are just a few to get you started.
Isaiah 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Jeremiah 32:17 “Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.”
Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”
Matthew 10:11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
Jesus is our good shepherd, and He promises to lead us if we are His. We can trust that He’s leading all of us in the pastoral search process: those of us here at Vanderbloemen, each of the candidates, and your pastoral search committee too!
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