The Preacher Being Considered #3

From chapter 40 of Between Preachers, by Jerrie Barber

The easiest time to move is when you don’t want to and don’t have to. If you’re not running away from something, it’s easier to go somewhere better. I’ve tried it both ways. There’s a difference between either being fired or resigning with nowhere to go with a time limit and being pursued by a church when you’re secure and don’t have to move. But in either situation, it’s good to remember that going where you don’t fit is an opportunity to be doing the same thing in a short time.

Some Questions To Check Fit

  1. Why do the elders think you might be a person who will work well with this congregation?
  2. How did the way you’ve been doing ministry lead them to you?
  3. How will the leadership style of the elders fit your preference for a working relationship?
  4. How often will you be meeting, talking, and planning with the elders on the direction and growth of this congregation?
  5. How do your education and interests fit the church you’re considering? A man with a Ph.D. who plays polo might have to count those as losses if he plans to work with people with a high school education or less and whose main interest is coon hunting.
  6. What are you learning about the community? Will you be doing cross-cultural ministry? If you grew up in New York City, moving to a small community in Tennessee or Alabama without a Walmart may be difficult for you, your wife, and your children.
  7. How will your wife and children fit into this church and community?
  8. What are their expectations for you besides preaching? Are you willing and excited about those ministry opportunities?
  9. What do you and your family need for education, recreation, and medical care and do you find those in this community?
  10. What are your goals for ministry in other areas such as workshops, revivals, teaching and attending seminars and lectureships? Will you be encouraged in these?
  11. How much of what they desire in their next preacher results from a reaction to what they didn’t like in their last preacher?
  12. How much of what you’re looking for in your next church resulted from what was upsetting in the church where you’re working now?
  13. Are you running from a person or small group of people who torment you where you are? Are you aware they already live in any church where you’ll be moving?
  14. Have you learned what you don’t like and what you like? How are you going to put up with what you don’t like? Are you willing to put up with it for twenty years?

Are you running away from something or are you going somewhere?


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

2 Responses to “The Preacher Being Considered #3

  • Roger Leonard
    6 years ago

    All very valid concerns to address. One that stands out in my mind is how well would you work with the eldership. Not doctrinally, per se, but in personlities. And hand-in hand with that is signing an a agreement (or a contract) which contains some expectations that you really don’t agree with, but think you “might be able to do them, or get the elders to change on those later.” If you can’t do them or disagree with the elders philosophically, either get the changes in place before taking the work, in writing, or don’t sign it or take the work. I’ve been there and done that, and it was very strenuous.