The Preacher Who Is Being Considered #2

From chapter 39 of Between Preachers, by Jerrie Barber

The goal of the church looking for a preacher isn’t to hire a preacher. It’s to find a fit to bless the church and the preacher mutually. The goal of the preacher looking for a church isn’t to find the first church who will let him move. It’s to find a church where they and he can grow together.

There are many good Christian single men who don’t need to marry any one of many good Christian single women. It isn’t because either is sinful or bad. They don’t fit.

There are many good, faithful, and effective gospel preachers who don’t need to work with many good, faithful, and effective congregations. It isn’t because they’re bad, liberals, or legalists. They just don’t fit.

There are many reasons why there may not be a fit: language, culture, background, education, economics, or interests. A man who is accepted and loved in one church may be rejected or ignored in another.

How Is the Church Going about Their Search?

  • What was their first conversation with you? See previous post: The Preacher Who Is Being Considered #1: how were you approached? .
  • How have they followed up with you? Have they called when they said they would?
  • Do they communicate they’ll be fortunate if you decide to work with them? Yes, you should talk with a church where you feel you’ll be fortunate to work with them. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).
  • How many other people are they talking to? Are you one of ten or twelve? Will they invite a person to work with them who they most want at the end of three months and ten tryouts?
  • What kind of questions are they asking? I went to one church who asked two questions, “Do you believe a person has to be baptized to go to heaven,” and “Are you anti?”.
  • What are they learning about you personally? You need to be compatible doctrinally. You also need to match the preacher-elder relationship each of you wants. Will they accept you as a participant in elders’ meetings or will you work with little interaction and if you do anything wrong, they’ll let you know?
  • How much do they know about your family and how concerned are they about them and their happiness in this church and this community?
  • What kind of research have they done or plan to do before making their decision? Have they checked references? When I ask a person to serve as a reference, I ask them to let me know when the church contacts them. I want to know if they’re doing their homework. Have they or will they do a criminal background check and credit check? Will they check to confirm you went to schools listed on your résumé and received the certificates or degrees you stated?
  • How do you and they see you fitting into their work? Do they see you as someone who will help them do what they already do? Do they expect you to change many things to “make the church grow”? Will you be responsible for the church’s growth?
  • Are they looking for a preacher just like the one they had?
  • Are they looking for a preacher opposite of the one they had?
  • Have they been cooperative and encouraging for you to say what you need to say and ask what you need to ask? Or, did they set aside one hour before the evening service for the entire interview?
  • How much time are they willing to take to ensure this is helpful to everyone? Their time now indicates how much mutual effort you can expect to build enriching relationships and God-glorifying work.

    What suggestions do you have to determine fit?


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

3 Responses to “The Preacher Who Is Being Considered #2

  • Bill Dayton
    6 years ago

    Jerrie. are you aware of the Clearview COC in Lysle TH. Hickman County. One of the elder Mike Bradley said he knew you…or of you. Just wondering.

  • Diane Miller
    6 years ago

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JERRIE, Love & Prayers, Richard & Diane Miller