Hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear from a church searching for a pastor. As I have taken mental notes from these conversations over the past few months, I have noticed common themes. Here are the six of the most common developments I have heard from leaders of these churches:
- It is taking longer for churches to decide on a pastor. About ten years ago, you could expect a church to take about six to nine months to find a pastor. Today, it is more common to hear the range increase from nine to eighteen months.
- These churches have many candidates; but they say most of them are not qualified candidates. Each church seems to have a different idea of the desired qualifications for a pastor. Though they all seem to insist the pastor must have basic biblical qualifications, their preferred qualifications beyond that vary from church to church.
- There is more frustration from both the churches and potential candidates. The churches express frustration because they can’t find a qualified candidate. Many candidates express frustration because they can’t seem to find churches willing to respond to their expressions of interest.
- More churches are giving up on traditional processes to find a pastor. In the past, many churches depended on their denominational organizations to find a pool of candidates. Today, only a small number shared that the denominational path was their preferred alternative.
- Churches are turning to internal candidates more frequently. This trend may be the most pervasive. Some churches begin with an intentional process toward an internal candidate. Others get an internal candidate by default.
- More churches are screening candidates by listening to their podcasts. They thus avoid the potential awkwardness of going to a candidate’s current church. They also do not ever need to let candidates know they are being considered until they make a decision based on the podcast.
Many of the comments I hear from churches and candidates come through this blog and other social media. If your church is looking for a pastor, I would love to hear from you. I also appreciate hearing from those of you who are looking for a church. Of course, I am always happy to hear from any of you.
Posted on September 22, 2014
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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