What plans should a church make in the event it needs to hire (or call) a new pastor?

First, I would suggest new terminology: we don't "hire" pastors. According to Acts 20:28, pastors are made overseers of the church by the Holy Spirit. The task of the pastoral search committee—for those churches using this methodology—is to seek out the person God has chosen for this role in their church. Our Baptist churches are notorious for "voting pastors in" and "voting them out," but I tell our congregations that that is precisely what we are not doing. By "electing" a pastor, we are expressing our belief that God has chosen this person to be our spiritual leader, our shepherd, our overseer.

Now, back to the question.

A friend who does interim educational work in churches, usually for a few months at a time, always announces to the congregation when he begins that "I have come to leave." He wants them to know the transient nature of his role. There is a sense in which every pastor and staff member could make the same announcement. None of us come to stay. Therefore, we ...

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