How Should a Church "Get a New Pastor"?

Many local churches across our nation are "looking for a new pastor." From my experience, it seems that the majority of pastors simply do not stay very long at a local church.

For those of you in a church that is looking to hire someone outside your church as your pastor (which is the norm), then I need to let you know where I am coming from:

I believe that the normal view of church leadership in terms of one, professional, salaried man brought in from outside the local church is not the most biblical understanding and has harmful affects on the health of the church.

For much more on a biblical study on pastoral leadership, you can download the free eBook: The Authority of Church Elders in the NT. (I consider "elders" and "pastors" to be synonymous.)

For example, Paul explains the qualifications of elders in 2 Tim 3: 1-7. Do you think a search committee or a church who has read a resume, conducted an interview, heard several sermons, and completed a background check could truly affirm that a man meets these qualification?

I don't think so. Please go back and read them carefully if you think so.

So, lets say some of you out there are trying to do it differently. You would like to appoint a team of qualified elders from within your church. What would that look like?

I would like to share with you what our church did. This is not a formula or set of rules, just some ideas. First, you might want to check out what our church wrote as a biblical explanation of this understanding of elder appointment.

Process for a Ministry Appointment
of Elders and Deacons

  • A man may nominate himself or be nominated by someone in the church to be considered an elder or deacon candidate.
  • The elders will consider the candidate and meet with him as necessary.
  • The elders decide whether or not to recommend this person for appointment.
  • The candidate publicly gives his testimony of salvation and ministry calling to the church body.
  • The church has the opportunity to initiate private discussion with the candidate, asking questions and expressing support or concerns.
  • After a sufficient period of private discussion, the church will have a public discussion to consider the request for ministry appointment.
  • The following questions can be used as a guide for affirming a ministry appointment for elders and deacons (except #3 doesn’t apply to deacons):
    • To the best of your understanding, can you affirm the following questions about the person that HCF is considering for a ministry appointment?
      • Do you believe that God is calling this person to be an elder or deacon of Highland Christian Fellowship?
      • Do you believe that this person has the training and character needed to engage in this ministry at this time?
      • Will you respect and follow this man’s leadership as he leads and teaches in a godly manner?
  • As with other decisions (see Article 6 of the HCF Constitution), the church will decide together whether or not to appoint the candidate.

You can view or download the entire document, "Ministry Appointment and Ministry Commission."