One of the greatest challenges churches and pastors face is a good fit for both. In theological terms, it is a matter of good stewardship.
There are a wide variety of approaches used by churches.
- #1 At one extreme is an approach touted as spiritual, but operates almost as “magic.” It’s the approach where neither the pastor nor the church have any knowledge of the other. A denominational leader pairs the two together under the guise of ecclesiastical power, yet, using no sanctified common sense. The track record is not very good. The percentage of “good fit” pastoral placements for the congregation and the pastor is very low.
- #2 At the other extreme is a purely secular approach, often fostered by well-meaning church leaders who sit on a board at church because they have been successful in the business world. Yet, they couldn’t find Paul’s letter to the Galatians with two hands and 20 minutes.
This process is one of presentation, negotiation, with a contractual feel. The pastor with the slick pizazz gets the job. This process doesn’t produce much spiritual fruit either.
- #3 Somewhere in the middle of these extremes there is a process for churches that may or may not get help with names of potential candidates from their denominational or fellowship leaders. But they have the freedom to pursue discussions with potential candidates, invite them to visit, conduct some research, pray a lot, discuss the issues, look at resumes, and the like. That system works better than the other two, but it still lacks elements that God can bless the most.
In part #3 of this series, tomorrow, I’ll unwrap some dynamics we’ve seen over the years, and weigh in on their effectiveness. Then, for part #4, I’ll suggest several ways that seem to help congregations the most and use approaches that are biblically supported.