How a Fundamental Baptist Church Should call a New Pastor

Calling a new pastor is one of the most dramatic experiences of a Church. Usually there are the stresses of the loss of the former pastor; death, resignation or transfer.
  Then there is the anticipation of what a new pastor will be.
  I shouldn't have to mention this and I hope you will realize that this is a public article before you are offended by the following statement. The Church should call a special service where they will pray for God's will in a new pastor. It could be and perhaps should be the time to elect or ratify a pulpit committee. The men who will be charged to oversee the calling of a new pastor, must be faithful members and supporters of the Church. They must learn in a short time what their responsibilities are. They have the task of finding pastoral candidates.
  This short paragraph will seem to be against a popular norm today. Many Pastors, when they realize that their term as Pastor is coming to an end, will bring in what they hope will be a replacement. The new man will be brought in as some sort of assistant or employed officer of the Church. The Pastor is doing or feels he is doing everything he can to replace himself with someone that will continue his ministry with little disruption. I can give you several examples right here in Missouri that seemed to be the case. I personally believe two or three Pastors have turned over in their grave because of what damage their replacement has done to the former Pastor's years of service.  It is not always wise to pick a replacement for yourself, because it boils down that one man is choosing the next Pastor of the Church and the body has no real choice. The current Pastor is taking advantage of his ordained leadership and influence to persuade the Church to accept his replacement.

The Search

  There should be at least 3 to 7 men involved in the Pulpit committee and it should not be an even number. These men should be established as solid members of the Church. They should evidence no personal adgenda as to who they want to get. Their job is to coordinate the candidates. They should stay in contact with each other constantly with regular meetings. They should first put all the facts and figures about the Church on paper. They should have some idea what the Church is able to provide for and do for the new Pastor. It is wise and right to start the new Pastor off materially with what the former Pastor was getting. This is for the Church's sake, not the Pastor's.
  If the Church is well established and able to support a full time Pastor, there will automatically be plenty of resumes arriving in the mail within days or even hours after the departure of a former Pastor. Again I want to go against the flow of popular process. Generally the volunteer resumes are from men who have come to a negative place in their ministry. Pardon me, but these are not the best selections a Church has. Here is where the committee really come to their fullest possible use. They should consider productive Pastors of other like minded Churches who are completely unaware that you are interested in them. The committee should discuss the possibilities then agree to call the prospective pastor and see if he would be interested in candidating for you. Remember the Lord is alive. He is able to direct you to the right man that he wants to Pastor your Church. If you are so minded let a couple of the committee visit the prospective Pastor's Church and hear him personally in his own surroundings. There may have been a neighboring Pastor who has shown himself interested and helpful to you in the past. He would be a first choice.
  What ever the method of contact begin candidating as soon as possible... you need a Pastor. Even if you have wonderful fill ins from within the Church, you need a Pastor. The committee must hold and keep the responsibility of scheduling speakers, both to fill the pulpit and to candidate. Any man who comes as a candidate should be scheduled first for a full Sunday. He should take both hours on Sunday morning. He should meet with the Committee after lunch for 1 or 2 hours (see below) then he should preach again that evening. At the end of the evening service a committe spokesman should publically ask the candidate if he is still interested in taking the position of Pastor. If he says no, then give him a generous love offering and be ready to hear the next candidate. If he says yes, then dismiss him and his family with a generous love offering. Invite him to stay for the vote result if he desires, but in another area of the Church. Take a paper ballot vote. The Constitution and By Laws of the Church should state what percentage of a vote is necessary to make a decision. If the man is called, he can be brought back in and allowed to give his acceptance speech. Then the committee should meet with him to determine the preliminaries of moving him to your city, etc.

What Requirements are Needed for a New Pastor

Obviously, the new Pastor must be set to continue the ministry on its present course. That entails inquisition into two areas of his belief. His Doctrine and his philosophy of Christian behaviour. The Church should have a published Statement of Faith. The prospective Pastor should be questioned by the committee concerning each of these numbered statements. He should be asked to comment on his answer, rather than just answering yes or no. Each committee member should be free to request any further explanation of any answer. Make sure that the session is recorded mechanically or by the Church Clerk. Then the prospective Pastor should be given time to express his answer and attitude about the pertinent questions below. Keep in mind what the personality of your Church is now, and how this man will enhance that personality. Keep in mind what the personality of your Church is now, and make sure you are not following a personal agenda in questioning?
  Some pertinent Questions:
    1. What is your conviction regarding the correct version of the Bible?
    2. What is your conviction regarding modest clothing?
    3. What is your conviction regarding Church music?
    4. What is your conviction regarding Super Bowl Sunday?
    5. What is your conviction regarding the name Baptist?
    6. What is your conviction regarding soul winning?
    7. What is your conviction regarding .........etc.
The committee should have determined what questions to ask beforehand and written them down. Some doctrinal questions will involve standards and some standards will involve doctrine. Remember, this man will become your Pastor indefinitly so now is the time to question him thoughly.The prospective Pastor's wife should be in the room for the questioning. It would be polite if a pleasant lady from your Church could sit with her. They are to audience the questioning only. Salary and benefits should be clearly set forth in the Sunday afternoon meeting also. Make every effort to detail what is to be offered to the prospective Pastor. The following areas are the most prominent:
 
   1. Weekly Salary
       a. Churches do not have to pay withholding to IRS, but can do so voluntarily.
       b. Raises can be set in relationship to membership growth. 
          (Sounds carnal but laziness is also carnal.) 
          Don't expect the preacher to do all the soul winning.
   2. Utilities (determine beforehand if the Church will provide cable tv & internet connect)
   3. Insurance
      a. health
      b. life (the Church can include itself in a life insurance policy(replacement, etc.)  
      c. Worker Comp (required in most states)
   4. Business Expenses
      a. Gasoline allowance
      b. Phone costs
      c. Fellowship expenses
      d. Home office
   5. Housing
   6. Automobile provision
   7. Retirement options

  It is wise for the Church Clerk to accurately take down all the incidentals from this meeting keeping a copy for her records and one for the prospective Pastor if he accepts.

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