Our church has been going through a process of looking for a new pastor. Our previous pastor had been the senior pastor for 13 years, and had been the youth pastor previous to that. The last 12 months has been a first for our church, in that it doesn’t have a pastor.
It’s been a mix of a blessings and frustrations. Frustrations are there because of the pain of the previous pastor moving into a new ministry position. The unknown future of the church. And a lack of clear direction for the now. It’s normal for people to leave a church when the pastor moves on, and our church has had a number of people do likewise.
The blessings are that its forced us to look at our identity. Its motivated people to step up and go the extra mile and minister to each other. To pastor each other. It’s caused the elders to take on more of a leadership and administration role – in which they have done a commendable job. It’s forced us to ask, what type of pastor do we want. What desirable traits and attitudes do we want in a new pastor.
To facilitate the pastoral search, a pastoral search committee was set up. The congregation was surveyed and the numbers crunched, and they have met once a fortnight for over 5 months now, working through the process. Our church had a meeting last night to discuss and vote for a number of issues, one of which had to do with replacing the old leaky roof (The property committee have done a great job on this). And the pastoral search committee made a report of where they are at, and handed out a sheet listing the basic statistics for our church and where we are at in the process of calling a new pastor.
One of the things mentioned was the recommendation for an interim pastor to come on board on a part time basis. During the discussion, questions were asked about the idea of a co-operative leadership and not just a single pastor. Personally I think the leadership of a church has to be a co-operative event. Biblically speaking, the church is never led by just one pastor; but instead has a number of leaders.
I mentioned how its rare for a single person to have great administration gifts as well as great pastoral gifts. One is normally weaker then the other. Yet, the church needs to be run well. It needs to have leaders who are good at administration. It also needs to have great pastoral support as well. Those who can preach / teach. Those who can come along side others to pray, meet with and give spiritual counsel.
Within this framework, I believe the pastor of the church should be someone with the pastoral gifting. One who takes the study of the word, and prayer seriously. One who is able to equip the congregation also to do the work of the ministry in which they are called.
It was reported that 2 names had been put forward to the committee to be considered as potential pastors, though there was no mention as to who they were and I’m not going to publically speculate who they are. The spokesperson for the pastoral search committee mentioned how its been a longer and harder process then what they thought it would be. But, its a worthwhile process to go through, as they were now working through what they considered the expectations and expectations of the pastor would be, though their primary responsibilities were described.
On a personal note, this is the second church I have been in that has gone through the pastoral search process. It’s a fascinating experience to see how its done. The people who are on the committee have done a tremendous job in working through the various processes and this hard work was evident through the concise and yet in-depth report that was given last night.
I acknowledge that for many in our congregation, it seems to be a painfully slow process and that some might think, just get a pastor and get it over with. But, its incredibly important to continue to work through the search processes to ensure that we work out what exactly are our pastoral expectations and to find the right person to fill that need. This takes time. It takes time in using our minds to think through the processes. And it takes time to seek God, asking him for his wisdom, and provision in providing the right person for the job.
I totally agree with and like what the pastoral search committee concluded at the end of their handout.
As a church, we believe our God has chosen our pastor already and we are praying for his guidance and discernment to reveal his anointed choice for St Marys.
Lets indeed continue to pray that our Lord will guide us with wisdom and discernment in his will for our new pastor. Lets continue to pray that our Lord will continue to prepare us as a congregation to be willing to accept the new pastor. And let us continue to pray that the Lord will prepare his choice for a pastor for us, to be equipped, inspired and empowered to be the right fit for our church and community.