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Confession of a Pulpit Committee

An inside look at the church's most clandestine operation -- the pastoral search.

No two pulpit committees function alike. Some generate mounds of paperwork; others rely mainly on memory. Some view their work as essentially a talent search. Some spend long hours on their knees seeking divine direction. Some push through the process as quickly as possible (and sometimes regret it), while others leave no stone unturned.

The following chronicle includes almost all the elements of finding a new pastor. Some readers will question spending this much time (twenty-six months) on the process. LEADERSHIP'S point in publishing it is not to say, "This is the way to do it," but rather to showcase the various factors and procedures, giving other churches a planning guide for when a vacancy occurs.

A song in the play Fiddler on the Roof starts out: "Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match; find me a find, catch me a catch."

More than two years ago, I stood with fourteen others and received a charge from our congregation to do just that. We were to discover the most qualified and eligible ...

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