A pastoral search committee is generally comprised of elders or leaders within the church for the purpose of screening and selecting candidates for an open senior pastor position. The committee's general responsibilities include: contacting potential candidates, conducting interviews, and narrowing down the candidate options to make recommendations to the church on who to hire as senior pastor. The pastoral search committee is generally used in churches that have an elder-rule or congregational-rule type of governmental structure.
While the Bible doesn't give specific guidelines on the hiring or selection process of a new pastor, it does provide some passages that specify the standards that a church leader, such as a pastor, should live by (1 Timothy 3:1–7; Titus 1:6–9). Members of the pastoral search committee should be faithful members of the church who are mature believers themselves, able to hear from God and discern His will. When this is the make-up of a pastoral search committee, it is a wise way to proceed with finding a pastor. Proverbs 11:14 states: "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." Having multiple wise people working together for a common goal is a biblical strategy. The variety of individual perspectives, insights, skills, and experiences, when given equal weight, help the committee to be a stronger body. One member may have an idea for a solution to an issue, while another may have insight to spot a possible trouble spot.
In the book of Acts, there were about 120 people involved in the process of selecting a disciple to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:12–26). After collaborating together, they selected two possible candidates whom they brought before the Lord in prayer to see whom He would lead them to ultimately choose. A pastoral search committee's goal should be to discern who is God's choice to fill the position, not the person who is the best candidate due to a man-made set of credentials.
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