Seven New Trends in the Pastor Search Process

Seven New Trends in the Pastor Search Process

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By Thom S. Rainer

If there is anything consistent about the current state of how churches find and call pastors, it is the inconsistencies of the process for each church. It is inconsistent by denomination and by each church individually.

I have the opportunity to interact with a number of churches looking for pastors, and with pastors who are being considered by churches. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed changes and trends in the process. Let me highlight the seven most frequent changes I’ve discovered.

1. Social media has become a major reference to check on potential pastors. More churches and pastor search committees are looking at blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media venues of potential candidates. One search committee member told me he read four years of blogs of a pastor their church is considering. He said that he could tell a lot about the leadership and personality of a pastor by reading his articles and how he interacts with those who comment on the blogs.

2. Two background checks are more common: criminal and credit. Most church search members will not disqualify a candidate who has some issues in his background legally or credit related. But they do want the candidate to be upfront about any issues; and they want to know how he is dealing with those issues today.

3. More leadership questions are asked. In the past, Bible and theology rightly dominated the questions asked of a prospective pastor. Today those considering these pastors want to know more about his leadership qualities. “We had problems with two of our last three pastors,” one church member wrote me. “But none of those problems had anything to do with their theology; they just had terrible leadership skills.”

4. Churches scrutinize the prospective pastor’s church website. I have been surprised how much churches depend on a website to find out information about a prospective pastor. They certainly expect to hear sermon podcasts there, but they are looking for much more. Rightly or wrongly, they often evaluate the pastor by the quality and the content of the site.

5. Fewer search committees are going to the prospective pastor’s church to hear him preach. I am hearing more often that they view such a move as disruptive to that pastor and the church. They have other options available to hear him preach. Of course, they lose the advantage of seeing and hearing that pastor in his current context.

6. Churches are depending less on traditional resources to seek prospective pastors. More are depending on informal networks to seek these pastors, rather than denominational or similar sources.

7. More churches are asking questions about the emotional intelligence of a candidate. Is he self-aware? Is he moody or temperamental? How motivated is he? Is he empathetic? Does he have good social and interpersonal skills?

There are several other trends I am watching closely. But these seven are the dominant trends in the pastor search process. Though they are ranked in order of frequency of comment, they are really all very close in their overall importance in the ways churches seek to find and call a pastor. So the number one issue, social media and the pastor, is not that much more dominant than the number seven issue, the emotional intelligence of the prospective pastor.

What other trends have you seen?

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on October 29, 2014. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam,  Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

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Sermons from Types and Metaphors

Sermons from Types and Metaphors

Dear Pastor,

If you’ve been searching for an interesting approach to preaching that you’ve not considered before, you really need to check out this collection of messages! These sermons, which you can use “as is” or feel free to preach and edit as your own, focus on the types and metaphors of the Bible. (If you need a good description of “Types” please go HERE).

This is an often neglected part of Scripture, but it shouldn’t be! The riches that are waiting for you to study, and share with your congregation will help them to develop their faith in a way that will exceed your wildest expectations.

There is no reason for your preaching to be boring, and with this set of sermons, we assure you, it won’t be! You will find a wealth of information here that will stretch your Biblical knowledge and allow you to impact the church you serve with God’s truth.

There are a total of 91 messages for you to share, covering the types and metaphors of Scripture. We are providing this resource in three formats — Immediate Download (in Word & PDF), Paperback, and Kindle.

 

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Would you like to see the titles of the messages first? Here is a list.

1. ADAM A TYPE OF CHRIST
2. NOAH A TYPE OF CHRIST
3. MELCHIZEDEK A TYPE OF CHRIST
4. ISAAC A TYPE OF CHRIST
5. RESEMBLANCE BETWEEN JOSEPH AND CHRIST
6. MOSES A TYPE OF CHRIST
7. JOSHUA A TYPE OF CHRIST
8. SAMSON A TYPE OF CHRIST
9. DAVID A TYPE OF CHRIST
10. SOLOMON A TYPE OF CHRIST
11. JONAH A TYPE OF CHRIST
12. CHRIST TYPIFIED BY JACOB’S LADDER
13. THE BURNING BUSH A TYPE OF THE CHURCH
14. CHRIST TYPIFIED BY THE PASCHAL LAMB
15. CHRIST TYPIFIED BY THE SMITTEN ROCK
16. CHRIST TYPIFIED BY THE MANNA
17. CHRIST TYPIFIED BY THE TWO GOATS
18. THE BRAZEN SERPENT A TYPE OF CHRIST
19. CHRIST TYPIFIED BY THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
20. THE MERCY-SEAT A TYPE OF CHRIST
21. THE HIGH-PRIEST A TYPE OF CHRIST
22. THE PRIESTS TYPICAL OF BELIEVERS
23. THE TABERNACLE A TYPE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
24. JERUSALEM A TYPE OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
25. SOLOMON’S TEMPLE A TYPE OF THE HEAVENLY STATE
26. THE JEWISH NATION TYPICAL OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
27. CHRIST TYPIFIED BY THE CITIES OF REFUGE
28. THE GOSPEL ERA TYPIFIED BY THE YEAR OF JUBILEE
29. GOD THE FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE
30. THE ROYAL CHARACTER OF GOD
31. GOD THE REFUGE OF HIS PEOPLE
32. GOD THE GUIDE OF HIS PEOPLE
33. GOD THE SHIELD OF THE RIGHTEOUS
34. JEHOVAH LIKENED TO A HUSBANDMAN
35. GOD THE PORTION OF HIS SAINTS
36. GOD COMPARED TO A FOUNTAIN
37. GOD THE HUSBAND OF THE CHURCH
38. NO ROCK LIKE THE GOD OF ISRAEL
39. GOD THE FATHER OF LIGHTS
40. CHRIST AN ADVOCATE
41. CHRIST THE REFINER
42. CHRIST THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
43. CHRIST THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH
44. CHRIST THE BRIDEGROOM OF HIS CHURCH
45. CHRIST A PHYSICIAN
46. CHRIST THE CAPTAIN OF SALVATION
47. CHRIST THE WAY TO HEAVEN
48. CHRIST THE WONDERFUL
49. CHRIST A COUNSELOR
50. CHRIST THE FOUNDATION
51. CHRIST A KING
52. CHRIST A TEACHER
53. CHRIST THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
54. CHRIST THE BEST FRIEND
55. CHRIST THE DOOR
56. CHRIST THE LIVING AND PRECIOUS STONE
57. METAPHORICAL REPRESENTATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
58. THE CHURCH OF CHRIST A FLOCK
59. THE CHURCH A HABITATION FOR GOD
60. THE CHURCH THE GARDEN OF THE LORD
61. CHRISTIAN CHURCHES LIKENED TO GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS
62. CHRIST’S CHURCH A FAMILY
63. BELIEVERS SERVANTS OF GOD
64. SAINTS PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH
65. THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER
66. BELIEVERS SPIRITUAL MERCHANTS
67. SAINTS THE RELATIVES OF JESUS
68. THE CITY OF GOD, WITH ITS RIVER AND GLADDENING STREAMS
69. MINISTERS FISHERS OF MEN
70. MINISTERS SOWERS
71. MINISTERS WATCHMEN
72. MINISTERS BUILDERS
73. GOSPEL MINISTERS SHEPHERDS
74. MINISTERS STEWARDS
75. WORD OF GOD COMPARED TO FOOD
76. WORD OF GOD LIKENED TO MEDICINE
77. THE WORD OF GOD COMPARED TO LIGHT
78. THE WORD OF GOD LIKE A FIRE AND HAMMER
79. WORD OF GOD LIKENED TO THE RAIN AND SNOW
80. THE GOSPEL TREASURE
81. THE GOSPEL TRUMPET
82. THE GOSPEL REPRESENTED AS THE WATER OF LIFE
83. SIN THE LEPROSY OF THE SOUL
84. SINNERS CAPTIVES
85. THE GOSPEL THE CHARTER OF LIBERTY
86. THE GOSPEL DISPENSATION AN IMMOVABLE KINGDOM
87. CHRIST’S SPIRITUAL BODY
88. EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY DWELLINGS OF BELIEVERS
89. HEAVEN LIKENED TO A FAMILY
90. CHRIST THE SUBSTANCE OF TYPES AND METAPHORS
91. CHRIST CRUCIFIED

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Charles Spurgeon

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  • Serving as pastor, missionary, evangelist, professor, counselor, administrator, and dad is an honor. All that I am and all that I will ever be is due to Christ, and him Crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended, and the father sending forth the Holy Spirit. We preach, to reach each…

Six Reasons Some Churches Are Moving Back to One Worship Style

Six Reasons Some Churches Are Moving Back to One Worship Style

guitar-man-music-1221By Thom Rainer

You could not help but notice the trend of the past two decades. Numerous churches began offering worship services with different worship styles. It is not unusual to see a church post its times of worship for a contemporary worship service, a traditional worship service, and an occasional blended worship service.

The trend was fueled by two major factors. First, many churches were fighting worship wars. The great compromise was creating a worship service for each faction. Unfortunately, that created divisiveness in some churches as each faction fought for its preferred time slot. Second, some churches had a genuine outreach motivation. Their leaders saw the opportunity to reach people in the community more effectively with a more indigenous worship style.

Though I am not ready to declare a clear reversal of the trend, I do see signs of a major shift. It is most noticeable among those congregations that have moved from multiple worship styles back to one worship style.

So I spoke to a number of pastors whose churches had made the shift back to a singular worship style. I asked about their motivations for leading their congregations in such a direction. I heard six recurring themes, though no one leader mentioned more than three for a particular church.

  1. Multiple worship styles created an “us versus them” mentality. Worship wars did not really end with multiple approaches. In some churches the conflicts were exacerbated because those of different preferences did not interact with each other.
  2. The church did not have the resources to do multiple styles with quality. In many churches, inadequate resources meant one or all of the services suffered. It was deemed better to put all the resources toward one style of worship.
  3. The church moved from multiple services to one service. I heard from a number of pastors who have led their churches back to just one service, a move that naturally necessitates one style. Some did so to engender a greater sense of community; others did so due to excessive space in the worship center.
  4. The Millennial generation has influenced many churches. This generation is much more flexible in its preferences of worship style. They are questioning the need of multiple styles.
  5. Worship wars are waning. Many congregations with multiple worship styles created them as a response to worship wars. Now that the conflicts are waning in many churches, the need to segregate by worship preferences is no longer necessary.
  6. Multiple generations are becoming more accustomed to different types of church music and worship style. Contemporary music, in some form, has been around a while. It is not this strange aberration it once was to many congregants. And many church members who did not grow up on traditional worship are hearing those hymns in new and meaningful ways. Simply stated, there is a much greater appreciation for different forms of church music than in the past.

Again, I am reticent to declare a major trend to be taking place. But, anecdotally, I am seeing more congregations move to the singular worship style approach.

I would love to hear your perspectives. If you have any specific information about this trend, please bring it to this community so we can all benefit.

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on August 30, 2014. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam,  Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

4 comments

  • There is an elephant in the room with this article. Dying, long established churches with traditional worship simple aren’t surviving today. So they either have two styles or they go to contemporary worship. But the vast majority of thriving churches in the U.S. are contemporary – some form if rock. But not to avoid worship wars or to have one style. They do indigenous worship because they want to reach people.

  • Steve Phifer

    To me this was all totally foreseeable. I have never understood how so many leaders could go the route of style-based worship services when the clear teaching of Scripture calls for the church to be a holy counter-culture with its own artistic and worship culture. Unity and consensus is the essence of New Covenant life. The presence of the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit is the source of the church’s impact on the world, not the style of the music.

    • Bob Hudson

      Dave Wilkerson published a great sermon entitled “Strange Fire on the Altar”. I think that is the title. My fear is that we will not achieve a “balance” in ministering to different generations.

  • Bob Hudson

    Putting together a worship service that is meaningful to two generations has never been easy. The easy way is to go to one extreme or the other. However, a meaningful service can created that will minister to multi-generations. My worry is that this current generation will never experience the depth of a worship experience that is based on sound doctrine and is Christ centered. Superficiality seems to be an accurate description of most worship services today.

Marriage 101 — Our March 2017 Sermon Series is Now Available for Download

Marriage 101 — Our March 2017 Sermon Series is Now Available for Download

Our March Sermon Series, Marriage 101, is designed to help married couples to build their relationship on a solid, biblical foundation, and to instruct those considering marriage how to start off on the right foot. This is a practical, God-honoring series that takes marriage very seriously.

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