•   Networking with other pastors in large churches.
  •   Always looking and mixing at district and national conference. Write down names when meet a vibrant church staff person even when you do not need one.
  •  Not going to placement services (too many names).
  •  Not talking to senior pastors who are not doing well but think they would do well on a staff.

  •  Use a professional personnel “hunter” only if no leads at all. We used one of the best, and he would lead us to some who had little affinity with us. I am coaching a church in a nearby city now where he has done that.
  • PEOPLE: A chair of the search — exec pastor or department head. Search team of 5-9, including one or two elders, people directly involved (parents of kids, if position in youth or children), a personnel director, a woman from staff, etc.
  • Clear understanding of the process ahead, and who has to vote.




  •  Excellence in intern program. Credit offered through your favorite seminary, or one nearby. (They can get credit and courses through Trinity extension at The Chapel.
  •  Involvement in intern program. you spend at least a hour a month with them as a group, and sometimes take one with you. If John Jones, for instance, is your point person for interns, he is not a pastor primarily and would not look for or notice the perfect mix.
  •  Be sure high school pastor is looking for these people, and meeting with the ones who have interest. College pastor also. And you meet with them several times a year. (Some people think pastorate as I did from high school on, and few get guidance.) Keep a list!
  •  Offer scholarships (small but good token) to ministerial students. We paid $1000 and more for each year in seminary to our members headed for ministry.
  •  Offer part-time staff for someone not ready for full-time.
  •   Decide that some director positions should be raised right there. Early childhood directing, women’s, sports, administrative.
  •   Think $800 a month for part-time slots, with no benefits and 8-10 weeks off a year so they can go south in the case of retired, or stay home with kids in the summer in the case of school-kid mothers.
  •   Give away titles and responsibilities and name badges to people freely. Retired people often can help 10-20 hours a week (with 8-10 weeks off) in many areas:



    childhood ministries and more


  •   Teaching that gives good background Scripture about all of life, but also calls some to give vocational ministry this way.





  •   Go with your gut.
  •   Eat a meal with the person and his or her spouse. (J. C. Penney would not hire someone until he observed them eating.)
  •   Play their favorite sport with them, or have a trusted advisor do that.
  •   Know that their record is not subjective.
  •   Hire an “all around athlete” before a second baseman, in some cases. I just met a guy who could learn any position on the staff I referred him to, because he is so committed to Christ, good with people, and hard working, and fun.
  •   Believe the three C’s (older than Hybels): CHARACTER, COMPETENCE, AND CHEMISTRY (with you and others on staff).
  •   Must meet wife and see how she is with people and with him, in the case of a pastor.
  •   Never allow any one person on a search committee to spend one-on-one time. Two at once helps report on the person, and also prevents trying to influence him or her in area of hobby horse.
  •   Have clear steps before hand –do not change or go shortcut.

1.      Letter to see if interest.


2.      Phone interview.

3.      Personal and marriage and deeper interview in person or on Skype.


3a. Psychological or vocational test (some good ones out there these days)


4.      Theological interview. (Be sure good theologians on search team.) No one goes further if problem here.


5.      Church and pastoral procedure interview — deep issues. And experience.


6.      References all along being checked. Sometimes most important one must wait.


7.      Interview with staff leadership team. They and senior should be able to veto at any time. (No one goes further is any question to here.)


8.      On-site visits where they now serve.


9.      Awareness meeting about salary range and work expected.


10.  On-site visits to your church; plenty of time with search team.


11.  Visit to your church site that is official, and with participation or teaching the people they will serve. Time with them also. Time with the  staff leaders and main board.