Preacher Search Suggestions 4

You may want to read the previous three posts: Preacher Search Suggestions 1Preacher Search Suggestions 2Preacher Search Suggestions 3.

  • Keep the congregation informed.  On a regular schedule (two to three weeks), give a brief report with no names mentioned.  Communicate with specifics:  “We’ve received 25 suggestions from members here, and we’ve received 37 résumés.  We’ve contacted all but six who weren’t available.  Ten said they weren’t interested in further consideration.”
  • Be sensitive to the family.  The wife and children will be part of the decision and will be vital to the happiness after the move.  A special activity for the children when they visit will impress.  Leaving them in a motel to watch TV while Dad is being interviewed will also leave an impression.
  • When the family visits to begin making the final decision, continue to plan activities to give them information about the church and community, but also leave adequate free time.  They need time to pray, talk about you, question, doubt, make calls for advice, and think.
  • Checking references is essential.  Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32, NKJV).  It’s been my experience that many people do an inadequate job of learning about prospective preachers.  It’s my opinion you aren’t ready to select a preacher (and the preacher isn’t ready to select you) until you know—not only what you like—but also what you don’t like and how you’ll put up with it.  If you aren’t aware of his weaknesses, you don’t know him well enough.  See Reference Interview Form.
  • Besides checking references, both the ones submitted by the candidate and more references suggested by his references, you should:
    • Do a criminal background check.
    • Do a credit check.
    • Discuss with the preacher any unfavorable reports you received from all sources and discern truth which will set you free proceed or stop the process with this person (Matthew 7:12).
    • Check laws in your state about proper permission to do a criminal background check and credit check. You may need to get written permission to do these.
  • Plan a Funeral—Graduation Party at the conclusion to celebrate your good work and to reflect on what you have learned about God, about His church, about others, and about yourself.

Remember the three Main Rules for the Preacher Search…

My policy for being a reference at an interim congregation is included in my last paragraph of this training document, Suggestions for the Preacher Search:

I appreciate your willingness to work on this significant task.  I’ve enjoyed our time together.  I’m glad to give thoughts on looking for a preacher.  I won’t discuss the persons you consider.  I won’t be a reference for or a critic against men who apply.

May God bless you as you seek His wisdom in this process.

What suggestions do you have for the search?


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Jerrie Barber
Disciple of Jesus, husband, grandfather, preacher, barefoot runner, ventriloquist

2 Responses to “Preacher Search Suggestions 4

  • My biggest frustration is when the search committee schedules a meeting between the AM and PM worship assemblies. They usually only want an hour before the PM assembly. They ask their questions and leave me no time to ask mine. It also makes me feel rushed and unprepared for my PM sermon. I’ve tried several times to “suggest” we meet after lunch or for more than an hour and often they reply, “5:00 should leave us plenty of time”. Your article series has been very helpful and right on the money. Thank you

    • Rob,

      That’s a powerful statement. When you make that request and they don’t consider your suggestions, they’re telling you how they’ll treat you when you get there.

      Unless someone has preached for several years, there’s no way to explain how frustrating it is to be in a one-hour meeting where you have something you need to say or ask, it’s fifteen minutes until the service starts, it would be good to refresh your lesson for ten minutes, and three people want to talk on the way to your study.

      Also, if they don’t leave adequate time for you to ask questions, you might want to consider if this is the way you want to be treated. Matthew 7:12 is a primary rule of how Jesus tells how to treat each other.