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Pastor Now

    My heart’s desire in blogging and writing articles is to promote spiritual health on a personal basis and on a corporate level in churches.  One way of doing that is to make you aware of resources that could be a blessing to you and/or your church.   Honestly, there is more out there today than any of us have the time to read and process properly.  We have to be discerning about into what resources we will invest our time and money. 

     If we want to be physically and spiritually fit it will require making healthy choices.  Every day we are faced with decisions that either promote or damage health!  Many of the choices we make every single day, over 300, are not about right and wrong, but what is wise and what is unwise.  Becoming unhealthy occurs over a period of time where we settle for less than God’s best for our lives. 

     Several years ago, I watched a church I had resigned from begin the pastoral search process.  One leader said this to the entire congregation when he felt they were moving too slowly, “We better take what we can get while we can!”  They ended up calling a man who lasted six months and it was a disaster for the church and the pastor’s family.  Recently, I heard this quote, “It is better to want what you do not have than to have what you do not want!”

     After writing on this subject I noticed a blog by Thom Rainer and saw it as a confirmation to say more on this subject regarding the need for a pastor and to share some of his comments.  “William Vanderbloemen has been able to combine over 15 years of ministry experience as a Senior Pastor with the best practices of Executive Search to provide churches with a unique offering: a deep understanding of local church work with the very best knowledge and practices of professional executive search. William, his wife Adrienne, have seven children and live in the Houston area.”

Here are a few of the highlights that were given for churches to consider:  “Every pastor is an interim pastor.  Succession planning is not just a corporate principle. It is highly biblical as well.  A church is married to one man, and it’s not the pastor—it’s Jesus.  When churches are searching out pastors, the first rule is ‘slow down.’  Churches hire too fast and fire too slow.  The most expensive hire you ever make is hiring the wrong person.  Carrying the weight of the things of God becomes too much for a man at a certain age.”

     Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird have written a book on this subject entitled NEXT, Pastoral Succession That Works.  One of the goals of their book is stated as to “demystify successful pastoral succession and help readers prepare for an even brighter future for their ministries.”  It might be worth checking out!  In recommending, or even suggesting, any resource it is always opening yourself to criticism about something in the book someone disagrees with.  Some good advice I was given years ago was to “eat the meat and spit out the bones.”

     In assessment, there are five characteristics from Dr. Charles Ridley which have become known as “knockouts.”  If the individual does not have evidence of these traits in their life then it is best to not proceed.  It is not saying they are not called nor is it devaluing them but it is saying that maybe they are not ready for the position they are seeking to fill. These characteristics are:

  • Visioning Capacity
  • Intrinsically Motivated
  • Creates Ownership
  • Relates to the Unchurched
  • Spousal Cooperation

     We must be careful of looking for the Sauls who are good-looking and tall, demonstrate leadership capacity, and charisma.  We must dig deeper and look at character.  What does his relationship with his dad look like?  How would his wife rate their marriage on a scale of 1-10?  How is his personal walk with the Lord?  It is interesting that the five areas most often asked about in job interviews, (age, education, experience, race, and gender), have little value on predicting how they will perform.  Remember the process is not about personal approval but is the candidate the right man, for the right place, and at the right time!

     Healthy churches slow down and allow God to direct!