The first task of the search committee isn’t to hire this great preacher. The main goal of the great preacher isn’t to try to be selected by this outstanding congregation. The great question is, “Do we fit?”. One step in answering the question is for both to provide as much about themselves as would be helpful.
One way each church where I’ve served as an interim did this was to prepare a document giving an introduction to the church and the community.
The first congregation did this in a 3-ring binder. Succeeding churches did it digitally on their website or a CD.
Some things included were:
Introduction to the Church
- Plans and vision of the future.
- Statistics of attendance and contribution for several decades.
- Results of self-study survey.
Introduction to the Community
- Recent census.
- Schools for children and adults.
- Local sports programs.
- Medical facilities.
- Other interesting things within driving distance of this community.
The best approach I observed in my ministry was from the Pleasant Ridge church in Arlington, Texas. I received a call one Monday morning. A gentleman said he would like to meet with me. He needed thirty minutes of my time. We agreed on 4:00 that afternoon.
At 4:00 p.m., two men arrived at my study in Dalton, Georgia. They identified themselves as elders of the Pleasant Ridge church. They had a package of information about the church and community. I informed them I wasn’t interested in moving to Texas. They told me, “We’re not asking you to move to Texas. Please consider this information and ask any questions you have. Think and pray about this and see if this is an opportunity you should consider. We’ll be in contact with you in a couple of weeks.” They had driven from Texas to Georgia to deliver the information. That began a three-month discussion. It was a memorable time of learning how to consider and be considered by a church.
They had a very detailed approach to let us patiently consider each other and whether we should work together.
Several years ago, a church selected a new preacher. He moved and had a great beginning. He helped the church by his preaching. He was serving in a great way. Everything seemed to be perfect.
But in a short time he was moving. Why? There wasn’t a Walmart nearby and his wife wasn’t happy without Walmart.
Those are things you can learn before you select a preacher and save confusion and moving expenses — coming and going.
The information-gathering of the search is important. In addition to the facts we share with each other, we’re telling each other the amount about us we’re willing to disclose, the excellence and details of the work we do, and how much of what Jesus said we believe:
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32, NKJV).
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).
What are some things you would like to know about a church and community you would consider?
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