On Seeking a Church Leader
Ideally, an established church has all its leadership in place for as long as the church building stands. However, history has proven that many church leaders die, retire, resign, or are asked to sever ties, leaving the congregation to embark on a search for new leadership.
The following list is not exhaustive but should be considered foundational in a church’s quest to abide by the will of God in securing leadership for the church.
First and foremost, please keep in mind that prayer is a two-way communication between the Believer and his Creator. Therefore, once you make your petitions known to the Father, rest assured, He is already aware of what you, His church needs. * for your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. --Matthew 6:8b He already knows who He wishes to lead His flock and will direct you by His Holy Spirit, as long as you are humble and open to receive His guidance and instructions.
-What did you have and what do you seek?
The body of Christ should have a written description of the leadership it had and a written plan for the leadership it now seeks. The plan should include the leadership qualities that have a direct correlation to the church’s growth, unity, sound teachings established by the past leader, financial stability, and an augmentable vision for the future of the church. Warning: Those being considered should ALL have a sound knowledge of God’s word and be skilled in the execution thereof from the pulpit (the preaching of sermons). If your congregation is seeking someone who can “hoop”, your search won’t take long. I trust you are seeking to have as your leadership what God desires.
Let’s refer to these people as character references. Be selective and know the character of the persons you ask. What are your criteria for choosing the people you have chosen to inquire about the character of another? In other words, you cannot ask about responsibility from one who is irresponsible. You cannot ask about sobriety from one who is a drunkard. You cannot ask about honesty from one who is dishonest.
James encourages all believers to simply ask God for wisdom and He will give it liberally. Wisdom will allow those in charge of seeking a church leader to use knowledge and understanding to make the right decisions for the body of believers in their church. * If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. --James 1:5
Even with proper inquiry, it is wise to hold those accountable who speak negatively of another. If, for example, you rely on the word of a Deacon whom you trust to tell you the truth about the character and leadership skills of a potential pastor, you must follow-up any negative commentary from that Deacon with a series of questions for him. For example, if he says the preacher in question stole from his last church, he must give details. You cannot simply say to him, “Say no more. Thank you for saving us the trouble.” NO. This deacon is now responsible to you and your church to back these disparaging words with facts. If he cannot, then he is an unreliable source in this matter and your vetting process continues. If you choose instead to take him at his word, you are no better than this gossip-spreading, slanderous deacon; for that is what he is without the truth to back him up. *But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. --James 3:14
Once all the above steps have been taken, and you have done all you believe you were obligated to do, and in good conscience, remind God of His promise to appoint a leader, for this season, to lead—not be employed by—His people.