As we’ve served around the country and around the world as interim pastors, one of the things we often do during our tenure in a church is assist them in the search for their next interim pastor. We’ve spoken a little bit about this before in this blog post. We talked about how churches can find the most success in their pastoral search and how we can come alongside churches to help facilitate the process.
Since that blog post was published, we’ve decided to make pastoral search assistance an official service we offer at VitalChurch Ministry. Churches seeking this service need not be churches that one of our interim pastors is already working in. Any church that feels they could benefit from some expert guidance in the pastoral search process can partner with VitalChurch Ministry for help. It’s something we’ve been doing for many years; we are now just opening up the service to any church who feels they could benefit from this service.
Much like we do with the other services we offer, in this new service our pastors will work hand-in-hand with churches to discern God’s will. We will also help put a process in place that, we hope, will lead to a successful outcome—one where the new pastor is a good match for the church.
Identifying Your Church’s Vision and Values
As with any good candidate search process, most of the hard work is done before you even begin talking to candidates. When you work with VitalChurch for pastoral search assistance, we’ll start by helping you identify your church’s vision and values. We’ll survey your congregation, current staff, and key volunteers to determine what’s important to your church, and to see if the vision and values you display on your website match what the people in your church actually think are important.
Creating a Detailed Pastoral Profile and Search Packet
We’ll then help you create a pastoral profile, which will outline the ideal characteristics, gifts, and skills of your next pastor. Not every church is looking for the same things. You want your pastoral profile to be as specific as possible to increase the likelihood that your church’s next pastor will meet the specific needs of your congregation. If you choose to make that pastoral profile public, it may also help some candidates self-eliminate, making the job of your pastoral search committee a little easier, since they won’t have to wade through as many applications from candidates who are clearly not qualified for the position. The team at VitalChurch will also help your pastoral search team create a search packet that is detailed, professional, and that will help yield the type of applicants you’re looking for.
Help in Evaluating Pastoral Candidates
It’s at this point that we allow your church’s appointed pastoral search committee to take the lead. Members of your congregation and/or leadership will be responsible for going through all of the resumes you receive from prospective pastors and selecting the candidates they think would be the best fit for your church and moving them along in the process. During this time, the pastors at VitalChurch will be on call to offer guidance as needed, but decisions about who gets the “Thank you for your application, but…” letter and who continues to be up for consideration are completely up to your search committee.
Once your search committee has narrowed down the candidates to just a few, the VitalChurch team can do a formal assessment of the potential pastors. We can conduct tests that will give you insight into their personalities, leadership styles, values, gifts, and more.
More than anything, the team at VitalChurch wants to offer objective, non-biased assistance to churches going through the pastoral search process. In our experience, many of the top candidates in a pastoral search will be individuals who are either already known to the church as a whole, or those who are known by a key individual in the church. This can make it tough on a pastoral search committee, as there can be pressure from people lobbying for “their” candidate. When you bring in assistance from VitalChurch, we can provide an outside voice that will help your church identify who God wants as your next pastor, and who will be the best individual for the job based on your church’s vision, values, and needs.
You as a church have the final say on who you ultimately call as your pastor. We can help you identify the best candidates, but when it comes to the decision of who to hire, we leave that to your church.
If you are looking for someone who can walk you through the entire pastoral search process, we’d love to talk with you. Contact us to learn more about this new service and how we can assist your church in this important decision-making process.