Looking for a new pastor can be a daunting task. When a pastor leaves, there are so many dimensions: a sense of loss—ranging from sadness to relief. There’s a sense of wondering about where we’ve been as a church, where and who we are right now, and what next? This is a time to be still for a moment, and to gain awareness about who we are, and what kind of gifts our next leader might have to offer. In short, this is a time for prayerfulness, and a time for reflection and conversation as a church.
The whole process may likely take a while—a year or more is not uncommon. But it is an adventure of faith and hope and love! Things you can do? Pray together. Reflect together. Using the PastorSearch will make the process much simpler. One of the things it’ll ask you to do is prepare a church profile. The serious work of vetting potential pastors really does belong to you! Check references and engage in conversations and then, after doing all you can, keep in mind that God’s hand and Spirit move in mysterious ways. There just isn’t any possible way to guarantee that a perfect fit will result. Relationships are dynamic and fluid and utterly human, for better and for worse.
Search Committee Resources
More Than a Search Committee is designed for use by search committees, councils, and pastors. Hard copies are available through Faith Alive. The tool identifies helpful protocols, healthy etiquette, and significant resources.
PastorSearch is a process that churches can use to find a pastor. Components include:
Availability of minister profiles to Pastor Search Committees
A place on the CRCNA website, called Church Positions where churches can post their open positions, as well as the church profile, job descriptions, etc. This is a place where pastors can see which churches are looking for a new pastor.
To begin your search for a pastor you are invited to email [email protected] for more information and guidance by staff of Pastor Church Resources.
The “make visible” option has been removed from the minister profile form. In keeping with the provision of Church Order Supplement Article 8A, if you’ve been in your current position for more than two years, you’re eligible to be contacted by pastor search committees. It’s more than likely that you’ll be contacted more frequently than you’ve been in the past. Your cordial response to inquiries is appreciated.
In addition to checking available position openings in Church Jobs, you’re encouraged to utilize other approaches to discovering and discerning possible calls. For example, responding to ads in The Banner, and networking with colleagues, classical functionaries, and others that may provide additional opportunities for conversation.
Synod 2009 approved guidelines for maintaining a healthy relationship between a congregation and former pastor. These guidelines are especially important in situations where the former pastor becomes a "regular" member in that same congregation upon either retirement or taking up a ministry role outside of the congregation. See Agenda Synod 2009, pp.45-52 for the context of these guidelines as a response to an overture from Classis Grand Rapids East in 2008. You may also find this former pastor agreement helpful.
This article demonstrates that guidelines do not tell the whole story, or even the only story.