The Pastoral Search Journey


Conducting a search for your church’s next pastor is a serious task. Fortunately, those entrusted with this complex assignment do not make the journey alone. They can count on support from their church board and membership at every step. What else is necessary?

A lot, in fact. Many churches have not had to manage a pastoral search process for ten, fifteen, or even twenty years. Search committee members—typically board members and actively involved lay members—often do not uThe Pastoral Search Journeynderstand the multitude of tasks that make up the search process. Could your congregation step up to the challenge? Could your church begin the search process if your pastor announced today that he had accepted a call and would be leaving in three weeks? Could you manage the pastoral search process with the quality effort it deserves? These are only two of the many complicated questions which face over one hundred pastoral search teams at any given time. Too further complicate the process, the pool of available pastors is generally not large enough to satisfy the demand. What are search teams to do?     

Now, in 2010 and beyond, much has changed. We communicate differently. The Internet has redefined how we talk to one another and has given us access to information in ways we never thought possible. These changes can help a search committee. Committees now have more ways to inform others of their search and to connect with pastors. The committee has a greater ability to present its church in the best possible light through the congregation’s website. For that reason, this revision is needed. Every chapter has been revised, with new material added. A new introduction takes the reader through the search journey, and new chapters discuss interim pastors and the use of the Internet. And finally, new appendixes provide pastoral search resources.

The birth of this Web site and its related pastoral search team book occurred in pastoral search team meetings. As we struggled with the process, we learned much about what we did not want to do and much about what we needed to do to be effective. We also found ourselves in an undefined process where we were on our own to define what we did, how we did it, and in what order we did it. Looking at the process with a critical thinking perspective convinced me of the need for such a tool. While written for managing a pastoral search, it can also serve any search team looking for second staff.

Churches of most denominations, as well as non-denominational churches, can benefit from the explanations and detail to the steps of managing the pastoral search process.

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“No pastoral search committee should leave home without this book! It's a contemporary, comprehensive, and full of practical tools. It details the process from creating a committee to welcoming a newly called pastor into the congregation, with clear diagrams illustrating every point." ~ Joe H. Leonard Jr. Cochair, Pastoral Search Committee, Central Baptist Church, Wayne, Pennsylvania