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How do church search committees search for pastors?

Thom Rainer suggests four different levels at play with most church search committees when they are looking for a new senior pastor.  Rainer also points out that most search committees do have clear priorities, but that these priorities are very seldom clearly articulated. Here are the levels: Level 1: Biblical, Theological, and Preaching

  • Does he meet our theological and biblical beliefs?
  • How does he respond to theological “hot button” issues?
  • Does his practice match his beliefs?
  • Is he an effective preacher?
  • Would his preaching be well received by our church and community?
  • Does he have several podcast sermons for ready listening?
Level 2: Background Information
  • Does a legal background check reveal any issues of which we weren’t aware?
  • Does a credit check reveal any financial concerns of which we should be aware?
  • What has he communicated in the social media via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other channels?
  • What do his references say about him?
  • What do others who aren’t references say about him?
Level 3: Leadership and Relational Skills
  • Is he an effective leader?
  • How would his leadership style fit at our church?
  • How does he handle conflict?
  • Does he have healthy relational skills?
  • Does he lead his family well?
Level 4: Previous and Current Church Experience
  • Did he lead his church to healthy growth?
  • Was he a missional leader in the church’s community?
  • Does his past experience indicate he understands culture and contexts well?
  • What were his primary emphases at previous and current churches?
  • Did he relate to other church staff well?
Another thought:  Search committees know that they will never find the ‘perfect’ pastor, but they are much more likely to accept a level 4 flaw than a level 1 flaw. Thoughts? Read more of Dr. Rainer’s thoughts here…