Extended candidating increases exposure to the congregation.
A minister candidating for a pastorate feels a little like the hunter facing a charging elephant: he had better give it all he has on the first shot because he may not have a second chance. His sole “ammunition” is usually a trial sermon and the pulpit committee’s recommendation.
With the help of a pulpit committee, and some ideas from Ralph Sutera of the Canadian Revival Fellowship, we found a way to eliminate this trauma. The great advantage of this method is that it gives the candidate exposure to the full congregation. Here is how it worked in our experience.
Because it takes time to get acquainted, we visited for longer than a weekend. You will need at least five days of both structured and unstructured time getting to know the church people and the community. We first met the congregation at a Wednesday night service when Dave led the Bible study and prayer time. There they had the opportunity to see us in action, and it provided a good prelude to all that was planned for the rest of the week.
We spent the following three evenings in informal gatherings at different homes with separate groups of people. After a potluck dinner, question-and-answer sessions were led by either the associate pastor or the chairman of the pulpit committee. The people knew ahead of time that they could ask us about our doctrines, our methods of church work, and our personal lives.
For example, people wanted to know our view of Scripture and about our education and training for the ministry. They asked Barbara not only about our children, but also about her interests and her spiritual gifts.
In turn, we asked them about their vision for their church and what they felt was unique about ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more