Finding a Pastor, Part 1


Posted by Matt Postiff September 1, 2007 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Church 

A church I know is searching for a new pastor after their former pastor was called to another ministry. I was considering what advice I might give to them. My first counsel is to "stick to your guns and get clear answers from the candidate." When I say "stick to your guns" I mean that the church should not compromise its beliefs to find a pastor. I will use the example of young-earth, 6-day creationism. If you believe in that doctrine, then do not offer the pastorate to a man who does not believe that.

Related to that is the "get clear answers from the candidate" advice. Theoretically, if you ask the candidate if they believe and teach 6-day creationism from a young-earth perspective, then there are several possible answers: No, Yes, or something more vague like "I don't make an issue of that" or "I don't know." Stick to your guns and do not call a man who says anything other than "Yes." If he says "No," you don't want him because he will change the church or make life very difficult at some point down the road. If he says "I don't know," you don't want him because he has not thought through some issues. We are not talking about some esoteric theological point here. This is basic doctrine. And if he says "I don't make an issue of that," he has not answered your question! This is perhaps the worst of all, because he probably does not believe what you are hoping, and he is being equivocal. Maybe he is doing so to appear to be reasonable or just to get the job. It will happen again in the future! The end result will be little different than if he just says "No."

Now the question probably arises in your mind, what issues should we treat this way? Here are some, in no particular order, with my answers in parentheses:

  • Are you King-James Only? (No)
  • Do you believe in 6-day creationism? (Yes)
  • Will you bring contemporary Christian music into the church? (No)
  • Are you Baptistic? (Yes)
  • Are you Fundamental? (Yes)
  • Do you believe in dispensationalism? (Yes)
  • Are you Calvinistic? (Moderately so--four point)
  • Do you believe it is permissible to divorce and remarry? (No)
  • What is the primary emphasis of missions? (Evangelism and church planting)
  • Do you believe in separation? How much? (Yes, including sometimes Christian brothers)
  • Do you believe in premillennialism? (Yes)
  • Do you believe in pretribulationism? (Yes)
  • Do you believe tongues, healing, knowledge, and prophecy are available today? (No)
  • Do you believe in a second blessing after salvation? (No)
  • Do you believe there is more than one way of salvation? What about infants before an age of accountability? (No, Yes)
  • Are you new evangelical? (No)
  • What is your view of the market-driven church, seeker-sensitive church, and church growth movement in general? (No)

Of course, you should explore the candidate's views more deeply than this--what are the fundamentals and what do you believe about them? What does it mean to be Baptist? And so forth.

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