Jack Hyles wrote an article entitled The Science of Calling a Pastor. In this article intended on instructing churches on how to call a pastor he wrote:
Choose someone who is not a Bible expositor. There is not one expository sermon in the Bible. All of them are topical. I am not fighting expository preaching, but that kind of preaching will destroy a great church. Do not be swayed by their suave teaching. The great soul-winning churches have been pastored by topical preaching. I am not talking about evangelistic churches; I mean soul-winning churches! If you want a soul-winning church, you must call a pastor who preaches topical sermons. Many of our once great soul-winning churches fell prey to the popular notion of expository preaching. They decided that they wanted more Bible, but when they got it, it cost them their effective soul winning.
Contrast this rejection of expository preaching by Jack Hyles with the exaltation of expository preaching by Mark Dever in his Nine Marks of a Healthy Church:
The first mark of a healthy church is expositional preaching. It is not only the first mark; it is far and away the most important of them all, because if you get this one right, all of the others should follow. This is the crucial mark. If you want to read only one chapter of this book, you’ve picked the right one. This is the one you should read first, before all of the others. This will help you to understand what pastors are to give themselves to, and what congregations are to demand of them. My main role, and the main role of any pastor, is expository preaching (page 19).
Please keep in mind Dever’s accurate description of the main ministry of a pastor as you work your way these steps in calling a pastor.
1. The deacons form a Search Committee or sometimes the deacons are the Search Committee. The most spiritual and mature members should unite in seeking God’s face in one of the church’s most important decisions. This is no place for novices or the worldly wise or even an expert interviewer who works with personnel at a secular business.
2. An Interim pastor is called by the church. This can give the church stability in the absence of a pastor. I was interim pastor at Gospel Baptist Church for six months before they called me to be pastor. This is not always God’s will. The interim’s main ministry is to prepare the congregation for the next pastor God has for that church.
3. The Search Committee will report to the church at least once a month and give a progress report. It is almost impossible for a church to over communicate and especially when seeking the Lord’s will for a new pastor. The church should be encouraged to pray for God’s wisdom and leading in the pastor search process.
4. The Search Committee will consider one candidate at a time. “Voting on two or more men at a time has been found a great advantage. Voting on two or more men simultaneously has often resulted in a divided church” (Paul Jackson. The Doctrine and Administration of the Church, page 62). The calling of a pastor should not become a presidental election between candidates campaigning and dividing the membership.
5. The Search Committee will select a candidate by reading his resume, listening to a recorded sermon and by hearing him preach in a church. The potential candidate’s references should be contacted. A credit and criminal background should be checked. The potential candidate should also check the church’s references such as the former pastor and even neighboring churches who will know the church’s testimony in the community. Local businesses can also give helpful insights into the reputation the church has in the business community.
6. The Search Committee will then schedule an interview with the potential candidate. Both the church and candidate should consider if this is a good match of gifts, leadership style, and vision.
A. The Search Committee will discuss important matters with the potential candidate such as his conversion and call to ministry, motive for pastoring this church, philosophy of ministry, ministry training, present ministry, leadership style, wife’s and children’s support for this ministry.
B. The candidate will also want to ask pertinent questions such as why did the former pastor leave, what is the church’s profile (attendance and giving for the past five years), what is church’s expectations of the pastor, what is the church’s vision for its community and world missions, etc.
7. The potential candidate will be scheduled to come to the church and preach. If there is a positive response from the vetting process the potential candidate will be invited to come for a weekend and candidate. This will give him a chance to meet with different ministries such as Sunday school teachers, small gpaid and volunteer staff and families and preach a candidate sermon on Sunday.
8. The church will be given a notice, possibly two weeks, on voting on the candidate.
9. The church will vote on a Sunday morning and three-fourth majority (or whatever is the policy of the church) will be required to extend a call to the candidate.
10. The candidate will be immediately informed of the vote. The candidate will prayerfully consider the vote and soon inform the church of his decision.
Colin Adams who gave the 41 questions also gave these steps he and Ballymoney Baptist Church walked through which led to him taking the church as pastor.
Hopefully this courtship between the candidate and the church will become a marriage made in heaven and the two will live happily ever after.