Phase 4: Describing and Seeking a Mission–Shaped Pastor

The Right Pastor for Leading You in God’s Will

Ok, you have found God’s design and mission for your church, planned it out and are living out the plan. Now, finally you are read to seek a pastor. However, even here churches can go awry. As John Maxwell notes, in the church, everything rises and falls on leadership.

Bad ways of choosing a pastor

  1. Get the best preacher. Good preaching is, well, good. However, the best preacher may not have the abilities, skills and desires to help you accomplish God’s mission. And I have known some fairly mediocre preachers who lead growing congregations because they were the right pastor for them.
  2. Get the successful pastor. But successful at what? A great Big&150;city pastor might now do well in the country and vice versa. A pastor great at small group ministry may not have a clue about grief recovery. And a Dr. before the name or DMin after tells you nothing about their passion for children’s ministry.
  3. Get someone breathing. Some churches are so desperate for a pastor that they will take anyone. If we truly believe God has a plan for our church, then we need to trust that He will provide the right pastor at the right time.

A better way. We will not find the right pastor if we don’ search for the right one. No pastor will be perfect (either in gifts for your mission or personal sinlessness). The right pastor will reasonably reflect the mission God has for your church in his or her experience, passions, abilities and character.

  • Imagine the right pastor. What trait would that pastor need in order to successfully lead you in carrying out your plan for God’s mission? Describe in detail the sorts of ministry experiences, life experiences, training, passions, abilities, attitudes, gifts, personal habits and charaacter that pastor would neeed. Make the list as full as possible, writing down every detail, separating them out into the various types of gifts and experiences.
  • Prioritize the lists Not every idea is equal. Some of them will be critical to the success of your plan. Make them the highest priorities and grade the others behind them. Eventually you will want to divide the lists into “vital to have”, “would really help” and “would be nice”.
  • Write out a job description using the plan and the higher priority qualities. Remember that no pastor can do it all and be sure to ask yourself if anyone can do what you expect in the hours you expect them to work.