CALLING A PASTOR DOCUMENT OR MANUAL

 By pastor Vusimusi John Sigudla

SHARON BAPTIST CHURCH

SECTION A

CALLING A PASTOR DOCUMENT OR MANUAL

  1. FOREWORD

I recommend this piece of research work to all the Baptist churches in search for a pastor as to avoid mistakes that are normally committed in the beginning of the process of calling a pastor. I will call upon our Bible College to be vigilant in this matter as 99 percent of the student time is in their custodian. Thus I believe that the have much understanding of the type of persons they have been training. The fair play will mean openness to those churches that are searching for pastors that the search should really be based on the shepherding of the flocks rather than a figure that will act a shepherding role though the person does not qualify.

 

Hence the Bible speaks about offices and Spiritual gifts. Pastorate is a big package that needs to be unpacked. Pastors are not the same and their spiritual gifts and talents do greatly differ from one pastor to another. This understanding is vital for all the churches searching for pastors to can fully understand. As much as we have smaller cars and bigger cars, it is the same scenario here. These vehicles though small, the performance differ from their made or models. The bigger gigantic vehicles also though all regarded as gigantic, the work load to differ from one truck to another. Similarly pastors do have strong points as compared to one another and they also have some weaker points as compared to one another and these points whether strong or weak, the main cause of their differences is their gifting by God and the call that the Lord had laid in their lives.

 

  1. UNDERSTAND THE PASTORS THAT YOU ARE CALLING.

Jeremiah 3:15  The Lord says “I will give you pastors according to my own heart, who will lead you with wisdom and understanding” hope that when a pastor is being called the main purpose is to be moved from one point to another. I cannot say from point A to point B since some of the churches have already gone pass those two points. Hence I say it is very vital to understanding the one who is responsible in appointing pastors for the different churches. God takes the full responsibility working through our thoughts and as he answers our prayers, thus the need of involving God in this exercise cannot further be emphasized. He is fully responsible using the churches in the call system, as he directs us to the right person. God never went for the son of Jesse himself from heaven, but he used the prophet Samuel to go on behalf of God as God gave the directives in the appointment of David as the next King of Israel.

 

I hope I am being understood what I am heading too. God understand the needs of our different churches spiritually, administratively, financially, spiritually, vision wise and mission orientation. If God is able and is in full understanding of our churches, is he not the one to be mostly tasked to do the divine search for the right candidate? Truly that is the gospel truth and the really that would have been embraced by millions of our churches in search of a pastor.

  1. PASTORS ARE NOT LOOKING FOR JOBS BUT ARE CALLED TO SERVE.

 

Though they [pastors] graduated from seminaries and not automatically by virtue of their training and theological achievement that they can tangle any church as pastors of those churches. In our context in South Africa, we follow a call system in calling a pastor. What is a call system? It is a system whereby the church takes the initiatives in calling the pastor. While pastors on call will respond to the call prayerfully. The church seeks the face of God while the pastor too, seeks the face of God as to come to a common understanding of what the will of God is for both the church and the pastor on call.

 

  1. SOME IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN CALLING A PASTOR

The congregation isn’t calling a CEO; she is calling a pastor. She is calling a man who will conduct worship, catechize her children and who will teach parents to catechize their own children. She is calling a man to teach the elders and deacons, to do pastoral counseling and pray for the congregation.

Of course, I haven’t talked about money. I hesitate to do. As a pastor, anything I say may be interpreted as self-serving, but the truth is that, in many cases, congregations have no idea how much pastors should be paid. They don’t understand clergy finances (and it can be pretty arcane). So, the committee/session/consistory begins with one idea of what to pay the new pastor and ends up with a different figure altogether.

The first thing congregations can do to conduct a better search is to put the search in the hands of those who are charged by God’s Word with the responsibility of governing the church, i.e., the (ruling) elders. Certainly ruling elders should seek advice of the congregation and the congregation should be involved in voting on candidates put before them, but the search should be conducted by those who have been recognized, called, and ordained to the task.

Second, the elders should talk to experienced pastors and elders about the search. They should find out from others the qualities and virtues for which they should be searching.

More than anything, our churches need wisdom. They need to be in close contact with the biblical and confessional account of the pastoral office. They also need to be in close contact with reality, i.e., with things as they really are. “Get real!” Be honest about who, where, and why you are and structure your call accordingly. It may be that there are good reasons not to call a young pastor, but you should only come to that conclusion after serious, prayerful reflection.

  1. Important Attitudes to be adhered to as we look forward in calling the pastor.

    While individuals will express varying opinions regarding the pastor’s resignation, the leaders of the church should encourage a constructive, forward-looking philosophy that, in essence, accepts the decision of the pastor as his best interpretation of God’s will for his life, and looks to Christ the Head of the Church, to supply the undershepherd of His choice for the future. Such a wholesome outlook will be the result of much prayer but also of accepting by faith the following assumptions:

    1. That God will direct the decisions of the church if His will is genuinely desired,
    2. That the Holy Spirit has been provided to give the guidance the church needs,
    3. That a new full-time pastor should be secured as soon as possible. The notion that the church will save some money by delaying to call a pastor is a false economy. At the same time the church should not feel rushed. You need to follow this process through to the end. Many unhappy relationships can be cited when churches have short circuited this important process.
    4. That the church can actually experience spiritual growth as it faces the challenge of seeking a new pastor,
    5. That prayer will be a part of the search process from the beginning to the end. The entire church should be continually engaged in prayer support.

    Having assumed these important attitudes, let’s take some steps together toward the calling of a new pastor.

    The Adventure Begins

    Your District Executive Minister is prepared and skilled to help your church through this very important transition. He has valuable materials to share with you that will make the job easier and more effective. As soon as possible after your pastor has resigned, give your Executive Minister a call and invite him to help you. Calling him to come in early may keep you from making some basic errors that could impact the whole process. For many church leaders this may be the first time that they are involved in the pastoral search process. Ask him to help you. He will.

    An Interim Pastor?

    With your Executive Minister’s counsel you will also be able to determine if there may be wisdom in securing a part-time or full-time interim pastor. This is highly recommended in cases where your former pastor was much loved and had been at the church for more than ten years, or if there were serious problems surrounding the departure of the pastor. An interim pastorate, from six months to a year, will have a tremendous effect on your church.

    Organizing For Action

    The church will need to elect or appoint a Pastoral Search Committee. Usually the Constitution outlines the procedure. If it does not do so, then one of two procedures is followed.

    1. The church Board is asked to serve as the Pastoral Search Committee, or

    2. The church elects a Representative Committee. Usually five to seven members are chosen. The church elects that number by nomination from the floor and a closed ballot. One or two board members should serve. One or two significant lay people should serve. Other staff pastors may advise but should not sit as a search committee member.

    The business meeting must be properly called with proper notification and requirements for a quorum. The Pastoral Search Committee will elect its own chairman and secretary.

    Your First Meeting

    Now set a date for your first meeting. Make sure that your Executive Minister has been invited to attend.

    There will be a temptation to begin the meeting by immediately throwing some names of potential pastors into the hopper. You should resist doing that in the first meeting.

    Before you talk about names you need to reflect on where the church is currently at, what your needs are and what your goals are, so that pastoral candidates can be matched with these distinctives. This is very important. Think through the following questions. You may need to take time and involve much of the congregation in the discussion.

    Where Are We At Right Now? Where Have We Come From As A Church? What Kind of People Are We?

    Take some time to evaluate where you are as a church. Does your church have some special needs at this time? Not who, but what kind of a pastor is needed at this time.

    You should write up a profile of the church. Include a brief history, the present membership, average attendance at all regular services, monthly total of all offerings, capacity and condition of your building, indebtedness, and a running list of all your previous pastors who have served the church with the years of service for each. A Church Profile form is needed to help you with this. Create one if you do not have one.

    Where Are We Heading As A Church?

    Begin to think about the future of your church. What is your dream or your vision for the church? Lay out some goals for the next three to five years. What would you like to see happen in this church?

    Then list some qualifications that you would like to see in a pastor. What kind of pastoral qualities will be needed to help you achieve your goals?

    Now, we are ready to start talking about names of prospective pastors. “The biggest job is to get the right pastor into the right church, at the right time.”

    Make A Long List

    Begin by making a long list of prospective pastors. Names can be secured from your Convention office and from members of the congregation. It is perfectly ethical for you to consider pastors from other regions. Normally though, you would not want to consider a pastor who has only been in a church for a short time. Perhaps you could use your network to receive names. You might contact a seminary or Bible school for names of pastors and their contact numbers.
    Your Short List

    Number your long list in order of preference and begin to process the first three to six names. Assess a prospective pastor by considering such matters as his experience, training and suitability for your situation.

    Gather Your Data

    First get a good profile document on each candidate. DO NOT SHORT-CIRCUIT THIS PROCESS. You may be able to get copies of a MINISTERIAL PROFILE of at least some of the people on your list from the Baptist Convention office or your regional office. You can obtain free photocopies by writing and asking for them. Photos of these pastors are very important for the congregation to know who they are. The name with the face to the name will make much sense.

    In addition to a profile on each candidate, begin immediately to send out reference forms on each one. You should get three, or preferably more, references on each candidate. Things which we normally do not do. The secular world never by-pass this step of references.
    Confidentiality and Communications

    It will be important for you as a Search Committee to be sure that certain plans, and especially names of prospective candidates, are kept confidential. Yet communicating regularly with your church is vitally important. Inform the church of your game plan so that they too know what the rules are.

    There will be a period of time when you evaluate the church, build your lists and get your references that the process will appear to be going too slowly. Reporting to the church regularly and engaging their prayer support will help to build trust and unity.

Now Prioritize

From the Profiles the Search Committee selects several names that look the most promising for the church. Someone from the Committee should telephone these or write to them to see if they would be willing to be considered as a possible candidate. If their profile is incomplete, it can be updated at that time also.

Begin immediately to send reference forms to as many people as possible. DO NOT send reference forms to individuals who are currently members of his church. References are your BEST source of information. You should also follow up references from the reference forms. To save time you may want to follow these up by telephone.

After you review all your material and choose the most suitable candidate, you should consider sending a delegation of your Committee to visit his church if he is currently a pastor, and also interview him in person or by telephone. If indications are positive, the Search Committee will invite the candidate to visit your church and have him introduced to the congregation.

Bring Them In

Calling a pastor is too serious a matter. Bringing the candidate in for a full week would be great but not always possible. A weekend through a Monday is a common practice. Make sure to also bring in the pastor’s wife. Don’t let travel expense be your chief deterrent. Many churches visit a pastor in his own church to see him in action. Sometimes it is valuable to invite the pastor for a preliminary get together even before candidating.

One At A Time Please!

Never, never vote on more than one candidate at a time. This is a hard and fast rule. Considering two candidates at a time could seriously divide your church. Nor is it fair to the candidate. This is not a popularity contest. Prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit are the key factors in calling a pastor.
The Big Visit

While a weekend is a very short time for such an important event, it is often not possible to make it much longer. Have the candidate preach in both services as well as share with key groups in the church. The pastor and his wife should visit in homes of some of the key leaders in the church. The Search Committee should meet with the candidate and his wife at the beginning of the visit as well as at the end. An informal meeting, where the members and the candidate meet in an open forum to discuss the church and its future could be very helpful.

The Search Committee should have an extended period of discussion where matters of theology, leadership styles, priorities, preaching style, current issues, and involvement in the region and Baptist Convention structure, salary, pension, and a host of other issues are openly discussed. You want to look not only for information but attitudes and the ability to interact with you.

After The Visit

The Search Committee should meet during the week to pray, to evaluate and to make the important decision about the candidate.

If the decision is to extend a call then you must prepare that as a recommendation to the church. Ideally you should be of one mind. You need to be almost unanimous on the recommendation at this point. If the decision is no, then report that to the church but do not bring a negative recommendation to the church.

A second recommendation should include the terms of the call including salary, holiday time, participation in denominational conferences, camps, etc. The Search Committee will want to communicate with the financial officers to complete this.

The church needs a strong vote to call a pastor. While the constitution will normally state what percentage is required, my view is that it should not be less than 75% of the congregation voting to extend a call. I would personally be reluctant to accept a call knowing that a quarter of the congregation was not in favor of my coming. A unanimous vote is probably not realistic but a divided congregation will not successfully call a new pastor.

If the church votes to call the candidate, the work of the Search Committee has immediately concluded. The Church Secretary will prepare a letter of call on behalf of the church.

It’s an excellent idea to telephone the candidate immediately after the vote, as he will be anxiously waiting to hear what the response has been. But make sure you follow it up by letter as well, with all the details included. If the church fails to call him or if he declines the call, the Search Committee continues its work in the same way as they began the process. Only do not be discouraged. This is not failure, only an indication of the Lord’s leading so far. You are not going on to the second choice but continuing to seek God’s first choice.

Be thorough in your letter of call. Now is the time to clarify issues. Give the candidate a reasonable time, like about two weeks for a reply. Tell him to feel free to call if he needs points clarified. Pray a lot and leave the results with the Lord.

As a courtesy to all candidates, a note should be sent to each informing them that you now have a pastor and thank them for their willingness to be considered.

Once the process has been completed you should burn all committee records. This includes committee minutes, candidate profiles and references. The new pastor should not see the references on himself or the other candidates. These are confidential.

Above all, make prayer your first and most important work. Calling a new pastor is one of the most important difficult things you will do. Surround yourselves with the prayers of the congregation throughout the process.
NOW, GO ON — HAVE A GREAT MINISTRY TOGETHER!

SECTION  B

HOW TO INTERVIEW PASTORAL CANDIDATE?

THE CHURCH THE INSTITUTION OF GOD

 

  1. Introduction.

The church is not an institution of man. Other careers and professions what is needed id the skills acquired and the academy received from all the different world institution. But dealing with this institution [the church] we are dealing with the heart of God. “I shall give you pastors according to my own heart who will lead you with wisdom and understanding saith the Lord” Cf Jeremiah 3:15

 

Thus to me this institution has nothing to do with how much one candidate qualifies. The question “is this candidate suitable for this church?” as much as not all saved Christians girls can be married by any brother, God’s guidance is needed to obtain the suitable mate for the brother who want to marry” God said in the beginning to Adam “I will give you a suitable helpmate” thus the church also in our 21st century does not only need a powerful preaching machine, but the church need a man of his heart for our different cultural situations in our given different situations. Thus the involvement of God and patience in acquiring the right relevant man of God according to God’s heart is precisely the pre-requisite in our own generation.

 

I am compelled after much research to take this important time to fully explain the call and interview of the pastoral candidate as to avoid all the hurts that the devil intend to inflict in our spiritual lives as a church and Christians. Patience will really pay great dividends for the church in search for a right suitable [not perfect] pastor. We have examples in the scriptures where people were anointed by God but they have to wait for the suitable time for years to take over where God had prepared for them. David was anointed as the second King of Israel when he was only 17 years old day light and it was not a secret, but it was only when he was 30 years old when he assumed the throne after the death of the first rejected king. He suffered as an anointed man of God for 13 years staying as a wanderer for these years. It was only when the opportune time [right time] came that David took over the throne.

 

Joseph was also 17 years old when he felt the call of God but the danger he went through was very unbearable. I would also plea with this church [Revival Baptist Church] to really pay the price of obtaining the right man or woman of God in due season.

 

What follows will not ascertain the perfect will of God towards the right candidate, it is just a good godly exercise that is needed by all churches looking for the right pastor for their situation. It is an exercise worthy to be carried out and it will surely be fruitful when God is fully involved in it.

  1. HOW TO INTERVIEW PASTORAL

CANDIDATES?

 

How to interview pastoral candidate?

Instructions.

  1. Things you will need
  • Committee
  • Candidates not candidate
  • Open pastoral Position.
  1. STEPS TO FOLLOW IN THIS PROCESS.

 

STEP NUMBER ONE

Form a committee to interview the candidates. The committee can be made of the deacons, elders or the call committee and pastors that might be in the church or a mixture of all these people. The decision is totally in your hands as a church committee or call committee

STEP NUMBER TWO

Decide if the church is going to consider one candidate at a time of if the church will interview a handful of these candidates and systematically short list the candidates. The method the church decides upon should be shared with the potential candidates so they can understand their interviewing relationship with the church.

STEP NUMBER THREE

Determine how the decision will be made. Will the committee determine who will be hired? [Which will be most dangerous] or will the committee bring the candidates information before the church for the church to vote on? Or will the present pastors or ministers in the church choose the candidate? This needs to be determined before the interview process begins.

Determine how the decision will be made. Will the committee determine who will be hired? Will the committee bring the candidates information before the church for the church to vote on? Will the current ministers choose the candidate? This needs to be determined before the interview process begins.

STEP NUMBER FOUR

Choose an individual whose resume [CV] outlines the experience and qualification that would best suite the position. Inclusively driver License is very important.

STEP NUMBER FIVE.

Inform the candidate of the expected salary and benefits upfront in order to eliminate any waste of time should the candidate not be able to consider your church due to your salary and benefits offer

STEP NUMBER SIX.

Prepare a suitable conducive place without any disturbances or obstruction. The panelists from the church should be well informed and well behaved. The panelists should be sincere men and women of great integrity. These men and women should be fully spiritually matured to handle any attack from the evil one during the process of interview.

  1. QUESTIONNAIRE’S TOWARDS THE CANDIDATES.

These questionnaires in order to do justice to both the candidate and to you, [panellists] suggestion or recommendation, let the interview be written. The committee will go through the answers of the questions here below and get clarity from the candidate. This will save lot of time and it will be a very dignified interview, because all the answers that are supposed to be given to the church are written by the candidate himself.  This exam or test will have a clean record even tomorrow when there is misunderstanding.

Allocate 1h30 minutes per candidate in different time’s slots. E.g. the first start at 8h30 -10h00. Then the next candidate starts at 10h30 until 12h00 noon. The third one will start at 13h00 until 14h30. Then the panellists will sit down from 15h00 until 18h00 going through the candidates responses to the same questions and make your own observations prayerfully. Then make your recommendation clearly from facts given to the church for final votes. Before your submissions call the candidates the following Saturday or midweek to carry out the verbal interview that is based on their answers that will not last more than 45 minutes. However at the most let it be an hour verbal interview. However it will all depend from the clarity you receive from each candidate.

  1. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE:
  2. Please share your salvation testimony.
  3. Please share the testimony of your call to full time ministry.
  4. What do you understand about the spiritual concept of brokenness?
  5. How have you personally experienced brokenness?
  6. What did the Lord teach you today from His Word?
  7. What is your personal practice in a personal quiet time?
  8. What disqualifies a person from ministry?
  9. What areas of your spiritual life, are you seeking to grow personally?
  10. Who are the authors you enjoy reading?
  11. Contemporary why?
  12. Older authors Why?
  13. Who are the pastors you enjoy listening to on tape, CD, DVD and in personally? And Why?

 

  1. PASTORAL PRIORITIES
  2. Do you have a circle of men who speak to you about personal accountability?
  3. What is your spiritual gift?
  4. What are your three greatest strengths with regard to pastoral responsibilities?
  5. What are your three greatest weaknesses with regard to pastoral responsibilities?
  6. THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
  7. What is the greatest need in the church today?
  8. What should a church be?
  9. How do you lead a church to become what it should be?
  10. Have you ever served on a foreign mission field? If so, when, where and how?
  11. When we call the previous churches you have served in, will we discover any reason why they would not have you back in the pulpit?
  12. What are the “programs” that are in your Pastoral Toolbox? The tools you believe are the most beneficial to building a strong church?
  13. Families are under attack spiritually and culturally. As pastor, what is your ministry plan and tools you will use to build and strengthen the bonds of a family?
  14. Husband/Wife relationship
  15. Parent/Child relationships
  16. Single parent homes
  17. YOUR PERSONAL LIFE

 

  1. Have you ever moved from a town and left any unpaid bills or debts?
  2. Have you ever been divorced?
  3. Do you have a family devotional time?
  4. Do you have a family time?
  5. How do you discipline your children if he has children?
  6. Are there any courts appearances with you since you were saved? If yes what happened?
  7. THE CHURCH.

 

  1. What is the role of deacons in the life of the church?
  2. What are the four top priorities of the church?
  3. In the order of priority …the most important first.
  4. How do you personally live out these priorities?
  5. How would you lead the church to fulfil these priorities?
  6. What is your philosophy of ministry with regard to worship?
  7. Characteristics of worship?
  8. Priorities of worship?
  9. How would you select a worship leader?
  10. How would you mobilize our church for missions?
  11. Financial participation
  12. Direct participation
  13. From the moment a person responds at the invitation, describe the process for

enfolding that inquirer (or family) into full church membership.

  1. Is a new member’s class necessary?
  2. Are there Biblical grounds for a divorce? If so, what are they?
  3. What are the Biblical grounds for Divorce and Remarriage?
  4. Will you marry divorced people? If so, under what circumstances?
  5. Do you perform wedding ceremonies for people outside the church? If so, who and why?
  6. What does the Scripture teach with regard to inter-racial marriage?
  7. When conflict arises in the church, what are the principles and procedures you would follow in an effort to restore harmony?
  8. What is you position on Church debt?
  9. How much?
  10. How do you resource the debt?
  11. What is your process and action plan to retire debt?
  12. Regarding a Church Building Program
  13. how should the church building be used?
  14. How should the funds be raised towards church buildings?
  15. Have you ever led a church through a building program? Tell us about its

victories and problems.

  1. What are the first four staff positions to be filled (exclude secretarial positions)?
  2. List in order of importance and tell us why this order is important?
  3. At what point do we search for the first one? Second one? Third one? Fourth?
  4. What do you look for in staff? What are the key qualities necessary?
  5. What is the proper process in calling ministry staff?
  6. How long has your present staff been serving with you? (Turn-over? Why?)
  7. What is the relationship that a pastor should maintain with his staff?
  8. With regard to “Special Events”:
  9. What events would you annually calendar?
  10. Who are the special guests you would bring to speak to the church family? Why?
  11. What is the role of women in the life of a church?
  12. What is the Pastor’s role in budget planning?
  13. How should a church develop its annual budget? Why?
  14. When should we start a mission church?
  15. What items should be included on a church calendar in order to build a healthy

Church?

  1. PASTORAL MINISTRY
  2. If God does lead you to this church, what practical steps would you take to assist your present church in the transition process?
  3. Regarding Pastoral Counselling, what is your policy concerning
  4. Couples in marriage trouble
  5. Pre-marital counselling
  6. Individual counselling
  7. Rebellious children/teens
  8. Is there a time when scripture is insufficient for a counselling situation?
  9. What do you believe is your wife’s role in the ministry of this church? Why?
  10. Doctrinal Issues
  11. Salvation

􀃌 How essential is repentance to salvation?

  1. Baptism

􀃌 Method

􀃌 Age limit.

􀃌 When after conversion.

  1. The Lord’s Supper
  2. Is the actual body and blood of Jesus present? (Transubstantiation)
  3. Is it necessary for salvation? (Ordinance or sacrament?)
  4. How often should it be observed? Why?
  5. Open communion or closed communion? Why?
  6. DISCUSS BRIEFLY THE “GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT”
  7. What does it mean to be “filled with the spirit”?
  8. What is your understanding of “The Priesthood of the Believer”?
  9. VIEW OF SCRIPTURE:
  10. What do you understand to be the authorship of the Pentateuch?
  11. Is Daniel primarily history or prophecy?
  12. Is Jonah actual or allegory?
  13. The Culture Battles
  14. What are your convictions regarding?
  15. Abortion?
  16. Evolution?
  17. Homosexuality?
  18. What does ‘The Separation of Church and State” mean to you?
  19. The Lottery (gambling)
  20. Multi-region South Africa

 

  1. ANY QUESTIONS FROM THE PASTOR TO THE PANEL.
  2. ………………………………………………………………………
  3. ………………………………………………………………………
  4. ………………………………………………………………………
  5. ………………………………………………………………………
  6. ………………………………………………………………………
  7. ………………………………………………………………………
  8. ………………………………………………………………………
  9. ………………………………………………………………………
  10. ………………………………………………………………………
  11. ………………………………………………………………………

Etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW FOR A SPIRITUAL WORKER EXAM IN WRITING. [PASTOR]

The written interview is more powerful as it does not loose its meaning and the real view of the candidate. The written answers survive the test of time and mist –understanding tomorrow. The written interview remain the true reflection of the candidate rather than the verbal interview that will turn to be debated tomorrow for more clarity as one may deny what he said, but you cannot deny what you have written. The verbal interview will only focus of the clarification of the written interview and the observance of the personality of the individual as we verbally interview the candidate.

 

The name of the candidate……………………………………

 

DATE:…………………………

 

  1. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE:
  2. Please BRIEFLY share your salvation testimony.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Please briefly share the testimony of your call to full time ministry.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. What do you understand about the spiritual concept of brokenness?
  2. How have you personally experienced brokenness?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………

  1. What do you understand by the spiritual concept that says “many are called but few are chosen?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………………………

  1. What is your personal practice in a personal quiet time?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………

  1. What disqualifies a person from ministry?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……

  1. What areas of your spiritual life, are you seeking to grow personally?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Who are the authors you enjoy reading?
  2. Contemporary why?……………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Older authors Why?…………………………………………………………………………….

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………

  1. Who are the pastors you enjoy listening to on tape, CD, DVD and in personally? And Why?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………

 

  1. PASTORAL PRIORITIES
  2. Do you have a circle of men who speak to you about personal accountability?

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  1. What are your spiritual gifts?

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  1. What are your three greatest strengths with regard to pastoral responsibilities?

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  1. THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
  2. What is the greatest need in the church today?

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  1. How should a church be?

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  1. How do you lead a church to become what it should be?

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  1. Have you ever served on a foreign mission field? If so, when, where and how?

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  1. When we call the previous churches you have served in, will we discover any reason why they would not have you back in the pulpit?

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  1. What are the “programs” that are in your Pastoral Toolbox? The tools you believe are the most beneficial to building a strong church?

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  1. Families are under attack spiritually and culturally. As pastor, what is your ministry plan and tools you will use to build and strengthen the bonds of a family? Briefly.
  2. Husband/Wife relationship
  3. Parent/Child relationships
  4. Single parent homes

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  1. YOUR PERSONAL LIFE

 

  1. Have you ever moved from a town and left any unpaid bills or debts?

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  1. Have you ever been divorced?

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  1. Do you have a family devotional time?

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  1. Do you have a family time?

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  1. How do you discipline your children if you have children?

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  1. Are there any courts appearances with you since you were saved? If yes what happened?

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  1. THE CHURCH.

 

  1. What is the role of deacons in the life of the church?

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  1. What are the four top priorities [roles] of the church?
  2. In the order of priority …the most important first.
  3. How do you personally live out these priorities?
  4. How would you lead the church to fulfil these priorities?

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  1. What is your philosophy of ministry with regard to worship? briefly
  2. Characteristics of worship?
  3. Priorities of worship?
  4. How would you select a worship leader?

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  1. How would you mobilize our church for missions?
  2. Financial participation
  3. Direct participation

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  1. From the moment a person responds at the invitation, describe the process for enfolding that inquirer (or family) into full church membership.
  2. Is a new member’s class necessary?

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  1. Are there Biblical grounds for a divorce? If so, what are they?
  2. What are the Biblical grounds for Divorce and Remarriage?
  3. Will you marry divorced people? If so, under what circumstances?
  4. Do you perform wedding ceremonies for people outside the church? If so, who and why?
  5. What does the Scripture teach with regard to inter-racial marriage?

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  1. When conflict arises in the church, what are the principles and procedures you would follow in an effort to restore harmony?

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  1. What is you position on Church debt?
  2. How much?
  3. How do you resource the debt?
  4. What is your process and action plan to retire debt?

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  1. Regarding a Church Building Program
  2. how should the church building be used?
  3. How should the funds be raised towards church buildings?
  4. Have you ever led a church through a building program? Tell us about its victories and problems.

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  1. What are the first four staff positions to be filled (exclude secretarial positions)?
  2. List in order of importance and tell us why this order is important?
  3. At what point do we search for the first one? Second one? Third one? Fourth?
  4. What do you look for in staff? What are the key qualities necessary?
  5. What is the proper process in calling ministry staff?
  6. How long has your present staff been serving with you? (Turn-over? Why?)
  7. What is the relationship that a pastor should maintain with his staff?

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  1. With regard to “Special Events”:
  2. What events would you annually calendar?
  3. Who are the special guests you would bring to speak to the church family? Why?

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  1. What is the role of women in the life of a church?

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  1. What is the Pastor’s role in budget planning?
  2. How should a church develop its annual budget? Why?

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  1. When should we start a mission church?

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  1. What items should be included on a church calendar in order to build a healthy Church?

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  1. PASTORAL MINISTRY
  2. Regarding Pastoral Counselling, what is your policy concerning
  3. Couples in marriage trouble
  4. Pre-marital counselling
  5. Individual counselling
  6. Rebellious children/teens

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  1. Is there a time when scripture is insufficient for a counselling situation?

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  1. What do you believe is your wife’s role in the ministry?

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  1. Doctrinal Issues
  2. Salvation

􀃌 How essential is repentance to salvation?

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  1. Baptism

􀃌 Method

􀃌 Age limit.

􀃌 When after conversion.

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  1. The Lord’s Supper
  2. Is the actual body and blood of Jesus present? (Transubstantiation)
  3. Is it necessary for salvation? (Ordinance or sacrament?)
  4. How often should it be observed? Why?
  5. Open communion or closed communion? Why?

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  1. DISCUSS BRIEFLY THE “GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT”

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  1. What does it mean to be “filled with the spirit“?

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  1. What is your understanding of “The Priesthood of the Believer”?

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  1. VIEW OF SCRIPTURE:
  2. What do you understand to be the authorship of the Pentateuch?

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  1. Is Daniel primarily history or prophecy?

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  1. Is Jonah actual or allegory?[story] fiction

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  1. THE CULTURE BATTLES
  2. What are your convictions regarding?
  3. Abortion?……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  4. Evolution?………………………………………………………………………………………….

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  1. Homosexuality?……………………………………………………………………..…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………
  2. What does ‘The Separation of Church and State” mean to you?

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  1. The Lottery (gambling) it is right or wrong?

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  1. Multi-regious South Africa should we allow other religions in South Africa?…………………………………………………………………………………………………

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  1. BAPTIST PRINCIPLES AND PRACTISES.

Baptists do not have any creeds or confessions of faith which have binding authority. However, there are six underlying principles which govern Baptist belief.

  1. The Bible alone is a sufficient and authoritative guide to faith.
  2. Baptism is only undertaken by believers accompanied by a profession of faith.
  3. Only convinced Christians should belong to the church.
  4. Each member of the church has equal say in the running of the church, and, therefore, the minister does not have any special priestly authority.
  5. Each local church is autonomous.
  6. Church and state are separate. Behind this principle lies the belief that the state should guarantee freedom of belief.

 

Thus what does the candidates’ understanding of all these above?

 

Can the candidate give us a brief history of the origin of Baptists?

 

 

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ORIGIN OF BAPTISTS.

 

During the final years of the 16th century radical groups emerged in the Anglican Church impatient with the church’s slow pace of reform. Many of these broke away from the established church and became known as Separatists. One such group was established in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire under the leadership of Thomas Helwys and John Smith, a former Anglican preacher. In 1608 this group moved to Amsterdam in order to escape persecution in England. In Amsterdam Smith became convinced that baptism should be available only to those who are convinced believers. Smith baptised himself and his followers, thus forming the first Baptist church. In 1611 Thomas Helwys and some of his followers returned to London and established the first Baptist church in England. These came to be known as General Baptists because they believed that Christ died for everyone, and not an elect few. In 1638 a Baptist church was formed in Southwark, London whose theology was Calvinistic. Those churches that followed this theology came to be known as Particular Baptists because they believed that only a particular elect group would be saved.
The Baptist church grew steadily during the first half of the17th century. However, the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660 led to renewed persecution of dissenting churches. During this time the Baptist preacher John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, spent 12 years in prison.
The 18th century saw renewed growth in the church. In 1792 the English Baptist Missionary Society was organized under the leadership of William Carey, planting Baptist churches in India and other parts of Asia.
Church membership continued to grow throughout the 19th century. Concomitant with this growth was the quest to establish cooperation among different Baptist churches. In 1891 the General and Particular Baptists were united in the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland. Baptist churches were also set up throughout central and eastern Europe.
The twentieth century has witnessed a growth in international cooperation among Baptist churches. In 1905 the World Baptist Alliance was set up in London. Since then meetings have occurred in different cities roughly every five years. Today there are Baptists in all continents of the world.

 

BAPTISTS WORLD WIDE.

The Baptists number over 110 million worldwide in more than 220,000 congregations, and are considered the largest world communion of evangelical Protestants, with an estimated 38 million members in North America.[4] Large populations of Baptists also exist in Asia, Africa and Latin America, notably in India (2.4 million), Nigeria (2.5 million), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (1.9 million), and Brazil (1.7 million).[5]

According to a poll in the 1990s, about one in five Christians in the United States claims to be a Baptist. U.S. Baptists are represented in more than fifty separate groups. Ninety-two percent of Baptists are found in five of those bodies — the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC); National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (NBC); National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.; (NBCA); American Baptist Churches in the USA (ABC); and Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI).[6]

The following acrostic backronym, spelling BAPTIST, represents a useful summary of Baptists’ distinguishing beliefs:[1]

TWO BAPTIST ORDINANCES

Baptists practice believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper (communion) as the two acts of faith-obedience to the example and commands given by Christ for Christians. They differ from the other ordinances of God in that they were specially instituted by Christ. Most Baptists call them “ordinances”[5] (meaning “obedience to a command that Christ has given us”)[6] instead of “sacraments” (activities God uses to impart salvation or a means of grace to the participant).[7] Therefore, historic Baptist theology considers that no saving grace is conveyed by either ordinance and that original sin is not washed away in baptism. Baptists have traditionally believed that they are symbols.[7] However, Reformed Baptists and possibly a few others affirm a Reformed view of baptism and communion as a means of grace and therefore by definition refer to them as sacraments in their theology.[8] Some Baptists, particularly in the UK, have been reexamining the theology of the ordinances by questioning the interpretation that they are solely symbolic acts.[9]

Some Primitive Baptists and Free Will Baptists also practice foot washing as a third ordinance.

Believer’s baptism

Baptism, commonly referred to as believer’s baptism among Baptists and sometimes other groups, is administered by full immersion in water after a person professes Jesus Christ to be Savior. It is seen as an act of obedience to the example and command of Jesus given in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). It is an outward expression that is symbolic of the inward cleansing or remission of their sins that has already taken place. It is also a public identification of that person with Christianity and with that particular local church.

Baptists do not practice infant baptism (pedobaptism) because they believe parents cannot make a decision of salvation for an infant. Related to this doctrine is the disputed concept of an “age of accountability” when God determines that a mentally capable person is accountable for their sins and eligible for baptism. This is not a specific age, but is based on whether or not the person is mentally capable of knowing right from wrong. Thus, a person with severe mental retardation may never reach this age, and therefore would not be held accountable for sins. The book of Isaiah mentions an age at which a child “shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good” but does not specify what that age is.

Baptists insist upon baptism by full immersion,[10] the mode Baptists believe Jesus received when he was baptized by John the Baptist. The candidate is lowered in water backwards while the baptizer (a pastor or any baptized believer under the authority of the local Baptist church) invokes the Trinitarian phrase found in Matthew 28:19 or other words concerning a profession of faith. Baptism by immersion is a representation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

For purposes of accepting transfer of membership from other churches, Baptist churches only recognize baptism by full immersion as being valid. Some Baptist churches will recognize “age of accountability” baptisms by immersion performed in other Christian churches of “like faith and order,” while others only recognize baptisms performed in Baptist churches. Baptists are known for re-baptizing converts to their faith who were previously baptized as infants or small children. Because of this, the first Baptist congregations were dubbed “Anabaptists”, which means re-baptizers.

The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is the second Baptist ordinance. It is patterned after the Last Supper recorded in the Gospels, in which Jesus says to “do this in remembrance of me” Luke 22:19. Participants communally eat the bread and drink the cup that are symbolically representative of the body and blood of Jesus. Based on their interpretation of John 6:25-59, Baptists reject views of communion such as transubstantiation and Real Presence held by other Christians. 1Corinthians 11:23-34 is also commonly cited as instructional for the practice of The Lord’s Supper.

Baptists traditionally serve the bread and cup elements to participants where they sit. A congregation may also choose any other means of serving since the method has no theological significance to them. The bread used in the service traditionally is unleavened, thought to be the type used at the Last Supper since it started out as a Passover meal for its Jewish participants. Usually bread cubes, wafers or small crackers are passed in plates to participants, though the “breaking of bread” from loaves is also acceptable.

Most Baptists and some Protestants in the United States use unfermented grape juice for the cup, citing the fact that the Gospel passages on the last supper mention only the “fruit of the vine,” never calling it wine. The “cup” is usually served in small individual cups. A “common cup” (one large cup for the entire congregation) may be used, but for practical reasons it is usually reserved for small gatherings.

The elements of the bread and the cup are usually served by the pastor to the deacons, and by the deacons to the congregation. A deacon will serve the pastor, or if the church has multiple pastors, they will serve each other. The general practice is for the elements to be taken by the congregation at the same moment as a symbol of unity, first the bread and then the cup separately.

The Lord’s Supper may be held at any frequency selected by a church, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even annually. It usually takes place during a regular worship service.

Baptist churches typically consider believer’s baptism to be a prerequisite to partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Who is invited to partake in the Lord’s Supper varies from congregation to congregation. There are three variations, with most prevalent listed first:

  • Open communion. Anyone professing to be a Christian may participate irrespective of church membership.
  • Close communion. The Lord’s Supper is restricted to those who are members of other Baptist churches (or churches who practice believer’s baptism by immersion).
  • Closed communion. Only members of that local congregation can participate.

Two offices

Generally, Baptists recognize only two Scriptural offices: pastor-teacher and deacon. Most Baptists consider the office of elder, common in many other evangelical churches, to be the same as that of pastor and not a separate office. Some Baptist churches in Australia and other countries acknowledge the position of elder. Others dispose of the position of deacon altogether. Baptists consider the office of overseer or bishop to be the same as that of pastor.

Pastor/Preacher

In Baptist churches, the most visible role of the pastor is to deliver the weekly sermon. In smaller churches, the pastor will often visit homes and hospitals to call on ill members, as well as homes of prospective members (especially those who have not professed faith). The pastor will also perform weddings and funerals for members and at business meetings serve as the moderator. In very small churches the pastor may be bivocational, work part or full time outside the church to supplement his income.

Today it would be difficult for an ordained Baptist minister to secure a position in a larger Baptist church without a degree from a Baptist seminary, which as a prerequisite requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Although it used to be acceptable and popular for pastors to attend unaccredited Bible colleges for seminary training, particularly medium and large churches now would insist on a degree from a seminary operated by that Baptist denomination.

Typically, the pastor will be married with children, though there is no formal requirement for this. Associate pastors may or may not be married, but if not married, they may find it difficult to be considered for a senior pastor position, because the pastor’s wife is often expected to take on a part of the work load. Many Baptist churches will make a point of interviewing the whole family when considering a new pastor.

Some Baptists, especially Reformed Baptists, believe in a plurality of elders. In that case usually only full-time paid elders will be called Pastor, while part-time volunteer pastors are more often called Elder, but these are regarded as the same office.

Deacon

According to Baptist polity, deacons also are ordained by a local Baptist congregation. When a deacon moves to a different church, generally (but not always) the prior ordination is accepted in transfer, but the deacon is made an “inactive” deacon until elected by the church to serve a term as an “active” deacon.

The scriptural model of the deacon is to serve members’ needs. Deacons usually are the only ones allowed to assist during communion. Today, Baptist deacons have largely become administrators or the governing body of the church. In many churches, the pastor takes on the role of spiritual leadership, while a deacon serves as moderator of board meetings. Deacons are usually chosen from men who are the “the husband of but one wife and (who) manage his children and his household well” 1Timothy 3:12. They serve without pay.

A common practice is for each family to be assigned a specific deacon, to be the primary point of contact whenever a need arises. Some larger “mega” churches which use cell groups have the cell group leaders serve the role of deacon.

SOME OF THE BAPTIST GROUPS CALLED CONVENTIONS AND UNIONS.

The largest association of Baptists in the US is the Southern Baptist Convention. Beginning in 1967, conservatives were elected to lead the Southern Baptist Convention removing theologically moderate and methodologically democratic leadership from control.[3] The new leadership now leads all Southern Baptist seminaries, mission groups, and other convention-owned institutions. All employees of those groups, as a condition of continued employment, now are required to sign a statement of beliefs that excludes among other things women in pastoral or administrative ministry, and a private prayer language.

The second largest Baptist denomination in the U.S. is the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., which is also America’s oldest and largest African American religious convention with an estimated membership of 7.5 million.[4]

There are several other nationwide Baptist groups, as well as hundreds of regional and local Baptist associations. There also are many Independent Baptist churches that are unassociated but which usually have some sort of inter-church fellowship among themselves.

 

 

 

THE CHURCH POSITION OR INTERVIEW BY THE PASTOR.

Often I am asked about how one should conduct themselves in an interview for a ministry position.  Usually the conversation is one way: the committee asks the questions and the prospective candidate responds.  This is right and fine but also incomplete.  A potential minister should also have questions he needs answers to as well.  Such questions can help in discerning is this the place God would have me serve.  Below is an extensive list of potential questions for the interview process.  The list, though long, is not exhaustive.  Further, not every question may need to be addressed for every ministry opportunity.  I believe one cannot have too much information when it comes to choosing leaders in our churches.  I believe this is true both for the church and the minister.  Hopefully these questions can guide and aid in a fruitful conversation for both parties in this crucially important process.

  1. Do you have church constitution/bylaws that I can see?
  2. Do you have a church budget I can review?
  3. Are you committed to reaching all people within your geographical area (regardless of race, social or cultural status)?
  4. Do you believe the pastor is called to lead the church?  Does your church believe this also?
  5. Who decides who fills the pulpit?
  6. Who calls and hires staff?  What is the relationship of the pastor and staff?  Do you utilize/have a personnel committee?  What is their function?
  7. What is the role of the deacons and their relationship to the pastor?  Do your deacons rotate?
  8. To whom is the pastor accountable?  The staff?
  9. For what reasons would you consider firing the pastor?  A staff person?  Has your church ever fired a pastor or staff person?  If so, when and why?
  10. What were the tenures of your last pastors?  Why did they leave?
  11. What is the committee structure of your church and how are they elected?
  12. What expectations do you have for the pastor’s wife and family?  Staff and their spouse?
  13. Would you provide for me the names and telephone numbers of your last three pastors so that I can visit with them about their ministry here?
  14. What are the doctrinal essentials your church has for: a) the pastor; b) worship leaders; c) teachers; d) membership?
  15. May I share with you certain doctrinal standards and emphases of my theology/ministry?
  16. What is the present membership of the church?  Is it in a pattern of growth or decline?  Where do the members live in relation to the location of the church?  What is the age balance of the membership?  What is the educational level of the membership?
  17. Is there a clear and complete job description of all staff positions?
  18. What, if any, secretarial and other assistance will be at my disposal?
  19. Has the church been successful in meeting its yearly budget?
  20. What are the music/worship concepts of the church?
  21. Could the community be characterized as static, transient, growing or declining?
  22. Would the church be responsive to innovations in worship?  Ministry?  Programs?
  23. Does the church support the Cooperative Program?  Other programs of mission outreach, both local and international?
  24. What is the position of the church on race relations, homosexuality, and women as pastors/elders?
  25. What is the position of the church on inerrancy, baptism and communion?
  26. How effectively does the church minister to its youth?  Senior adults? Families? Singles?
  27. What is the salary structure of your church, the pattern and policies on future salary increases and the tangible benefits such as hospitalization, disability, retirement, housing allowance and travel expenses?  Is a house or housing allowance provided?
  28. What opportunities will there be for outside engagements?  Continuing education?
  29. What commitment does the church have to long-range planning?
  30. May I see a video tape of recent services?
  31. Is there a church policy about staff members’ involvement in weddings, funerals, etc.?
  32. Is there an annual review or any standardized evaluation process of my work?
  33. What are the spiritual “barometer readings” of the church?
  34. What is the theological basis for this church’s existence?
  35. Do you have a Confessions of Faith?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PASTORAL CARE

 

PASTORAL CARE

 

Pastoral Care for the Pastor

By Steve Johnson

Who Provides Pastoral Care for the Pastor?

“Pastor, can I stop by your office and talk with you?” Those of us who serve as pastors have all received phone calls that begin with a similar question, and each time we know that we are about to assume the role of a “counselor.” It is part of our calling as caring shepherds. We want to help, and we do our best to offer sound Biblical counsel. Sometimes we get to experience the joy of knowing that we have given encouragement to a person who is hurting. Other times the problems run deeper, and not all of us feel adequately equipped to deal with the complex human issues that confront us. At such times we are not too arrogant to refer the person to a professional counselor who is better skilled in dealing with certain problems.

But we are still pastors. The burden of our hearts is to shepherd our flock, sharing their joys; their hurts; easing their burdens; and helping them in their struggles. We sit beside them or across the desk and listen to their stories of abuse, or loneliness, or stress, or marital infidelity, or financial trouble, or conflicts in the family or on the job. We deal with the distressed, the disillusioned, the dejected, and the depressed. Our goal is to open the Scriptures and help restore their faith, hope, and joy. We know that life can be hard for human beings, including Christians. So when our people need a counselor to talk to we want to be there to provide a listening ear and pastoral care because they need it.

But what about the times when the pastor needs pastoral care? What if the shepherd needs shepherding or the counselor needs counsel? Are we pastors so infallible that we never experience distress, disillusionment, dejection, or depression? Do we exist on a level above the human condition so that we never struggle with loneliness, stress, conflict, anger, or temptation?

Consider the following results of a survey of pastors conducted by the Fuller Institute of Church Growth:

  • 80% believe that pastoral ministry is affecting their family negatively
  • 33% say that being in ministry is clearly a hazard to their family
  • 75% have reported a significant crisis due to stress at least once every five years in their ministry
  • 50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job
  • 90% feel they were not adequately trained to cope with the ministry demands placed upon them
  • 40% report having a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month
  • 37% have been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church
  • 70% have a lower self-image since they have pastored than when they started

Those are alarming statistics. And what makes these findings even more disturbing is that the survey, like most others, was probably conducted confidentially. That means that the pastors who responded are very likely struggling in secret. When members of our congregation are struggling with serious life issues we expect them to get help, because we know that if their condition continues unchecked it will lead to more serious trouble. So why should it be any different for a pastor? It shouldn’t be. The pastor’s need for pastoral care must not be ignored or neglected. It should be respected by both the pastor and the congregation, and a plan should be in place to help him stay healthy and strong.

The Pastor’s Responsibility for His Own Pastoral Care

The plan begins with the pastor himself (Acts 20:28). Our greatest success is to finish the work God has called us to do. But every pastor has to realize his own vulnerability. Stress and burnout are not phantom conditions. They are very real risks that come with the rigors of pastoral ministry, and unless specific disciplines are practiced and preventative safeguards are in place there can be serious consequences for the pastor’s health, his family, and his ministry. Here are a few suggestions that can help a pastor reduce the risk:

  • Spend adequate time alone with the Lord in prayer, meditation, and personal Bible reading (not just for sermon preparation). It is also helpful to express thoughts, feelings, or prayers in a personal journal. The Psalms reveal how David understood the value of releasing the distresses of his mind through the pen in his hand.
  • Avoid isolation. Every pastor needs friends, even within his church, with whom he can have fun and do “guy things.” It is also important to have at least one close friend, within or outside the church, whom he can confide in and with whom he can share his innermost struggles and feelings. This needs to be a person who understands him, who will not judge him, and especially one who will keep private matters confidential. Like David, every man needs a Jonathan in his life (Prov. 17:17; 18:24; Eccl. 4:10).
  • Have a hobby. Pastors need a “diversion,” an activity that removes their minds and bodies from the pressures of ministry for a time in order to relieve the mental and emotional stress.
  • Manage time well. Pastors have the luxury of keeping a relatively “fluid” schedule, but they can also put undue pressure on themselves if they aren’t disciplined with their time. It becomes necessary to prioritize pastoral responsibilities according to essentials. This helps avoid getting stressed out by trying to accomplish more than time allows. But be certain to reserve adequate and undisturbed hours for study and sermon preparation.
  • Set realistic life goals and work toward them. God does not want His servants to become bogged down in the mundane, distracted by the petty, or worn out by mere busyness. He wants His shepherds to accomplish something of kingdom significance (Acts 20:24; 1 Cor. 1:1-9).
  • Seek counsel if necessary. If a pastor is suffering from the symptoms of stress, burnout, depression, or other negative conditions, he needs get help, preferably from a qualified Biblical counselor. There is no shame in seeking help (Prov. 24:6). Pride comes before a fall.

The Church’s Responsibility for Pastoral Care

The local church, beginning with the Board, needs to recognize their own responsibility in protecting the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of their pastor.

The Long-Term Care of Your Pastor

There are a number of long-term ways your congregation can show its love and appreciation for your pastor.

by Dan Davidson

It is virtuous, invigorating and biblical to set aside time each year to honor your pastoral staff and their families (such as Clergy Appreciation Month). It can be one of the most enjoyable and unifying times your congregation will experience. But it is also imperative that your appreciation of your pastor(s) is not confined to just one weekend or one month. It needs to occur throughout the entire year. In fact, it needs to be present throughout his or her entire ministry with your church.

There are a number of long-term ways your congregation can show its love and appreciation for your pastor(s) and demonstrate its respect for his or her divine calling among you. Here are a few very important things your church can do to provide the ongoing care God expects from you:

  1. Establish a pastoral care team.

Select a handful of people from your congregation who will be charged with overseeing the welfare of your pastor and his family. They will be his advocates. As such, they will regularly monitor his or her physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being; offer suggestions to congregational leaders that would improve the living conditions of the pastoral family; represent the pastor and his or her interests in any discussions on such matters; and ensure that the following entitlements are properly available.

  1. Provide fair and adequate salary, compensation and retirement benefits.

The Bible says,

“The worker deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7, NIV).

A pastor should be compensated on a par with the people being served and with other ministers in the same community. Leadership in every church should be more concerned about the physical and fiscal well-being of the pastor than nearly any other area. The quality of such care is a reflection upon you as a congregation and is a witness to your community of Christ’s love in action. Recognize your pastor as a uniquely trained professional with related education loans to repay, family-raising needs and expenses similar to your own and a right to a comfortable retirement. Make this support a priority. Review it and adjust it regularly. Give your pastor the freedom to minister instead of worry.

  1. Allow time off for professional development.

The budget should include provision for him to attend one or two conferences or retreats each year where he can find refreshment and renewal. This should be in addition to his regular vacation time, not part of it.

Encourage your pastor to continually challenge and improve himself/herself by underwriting his/her participation in spiritual retreats, conferences, denominational functions and continuing education each year. Every church will be better served if its leader is filled with new insights and motivation.

  1. Allow time off for relaxation and restoration.

All pastors need time away with their families, as well as time alone with God. Give your pastor at least one or two days off each week, and respect his or her privacy during those days. Set boundaries and make sure the members of the congregation respect them. Grant your pastor adequate vacation days, based on the total number of years he has been in full-time ministry, not his tenure at your church. Also, give him/her time off (replacement days) for holidays worked, and allow guilt-free time away for personal matters or bereavement.

  1. Give freedom to dream and permission to lead.

Be open to new ideas. Your pastor has access to resources and new concepts from the world’s greatest religious leaders. That means he/she will probably come to you with ideas and dreams for your congregation that may at first seem a bit grandiose or unrealistic. But stay open. Dreams are fragile. Work to keep your pastor dreaming and alive. Don’t be afraid to let him/her fail occasionally. Follow his/her leadership rather than presenting constant opposition. Allow him/her to speak out honestly against sin and injustice. Let the Holy Spirit work.

  1. Be willing to participate enthusiastically in shared ministry.

The most exhilarating moment a pastor can experience is to have a layperson say, “Pastor, I really want to make a difference in my world for Christ. I want to put on the whole armor of God and enter the fray. Will you help me? Will you train me? Will you pray for me?” Join your pastor in God’s ministry.

  1. Support your pastor with regular prayer, love and encouragement.

These are the most important things a church member can do for a pastor. Prayer empowers pastors to be the people God called them to be. It is difficult to pray for someone and be critical at the same time. Love your pastor(s) as Jesus loves them, and show it through regular, tangible acts of encouragement (such as simple cards or notes) all year long.

  1. Create an atmosphere that minimizes ministry stress and unrealistic expectations.

Cherish your minister’s Christlike character as a priceless asset for your church. Avoid grumbling, poisonous humor or a negative spirit. Be loyal. Come alongside him or her to facilitate personal renewal and restoration. Keep him/her accountable in avoiding an excessive schedule and maintaining healthy priorities.

Don’t demand more from the pastor than he can give. He is human and imperfect. He needs your prayers and encouragement as much as you need his. Understand that he can’t please everyone, and sometimes the person he won’t please you!

 

  1. Care for your pastor’s family.

Don’t expect his/her family to be any more perfect than your own. Recognize that every family is unique, and eliminate unrealistic expectations. Encourage your pastor to make his or her family a priority (even above ministry to you) and to give it the time, energy and effort required to keep it healthy. Recognize the tremendous sacrifices he/she makes on your behalf and offer massive affection and affirmation. Provide for their comfort, needs and preferences. Don’t cut corners.

  1. Support pastoral care giving ministries.

Pastors do burn out. Even though you do everything within your power to care for them, statistics show that your pastor or his family may some day need unique care-giving assistance. There is no shame in it, neither for you nor them. Facilitate such care by financially supporting one of the special ministries or denominational programs that offer assistance to pastors and their families. If and when it becomes necessary, cover any costs associated with renewing your pastor to full strength and restoring his/her ministry.

 

 

 

  • Respect his study time. Apart from an emergency, he should be allowed to have undisturbed blocks of time to prepare for preaching and teaching. If he is weak in the pulpit the whole church will suffer.
  • Consider granting the pastor a sabbatical. This is not as common among independent churches as it is in denominations, but it is growing in practice. Every seven to ten years the pastor should be offered a paid leave of ten to twelve weeks (not including regular vacation time) to seek spiritual and mental refreshment, do research or writing, travel, or pursue other activities that will “disconnect” him for a time from the routine demands of ministry and provide him a time for renewal. Even Jesus realized the importance of stepping away from the ministry for a time.

Pastoral ministry is rewarding. But it is also rigorous. And even Satan knows that the church will only be as spiritually healthy as its pastor. That is why he wants to keep pastors discouraged, ineffective, feeling like failures, and, if possible, utterly destroyed. But God is the great Encourager. He encourages pastors by His Word and by the support and love expressed to them by individual Christians (Acts 28:15; 2 Tim. 1:16-18). And that is why pastoral care for the pastor must be seen as an essential responsibility shared by both pastor and congregation. The result will be a healthy and blessed church.

Pastoral Care Resources

If you appreciated Steve’s article on pastoral care, you may also find the following pages helpful.

52 Ideas for Pastoral Care

How To Encourage Your Pastor

52 Ways You Can Minister to Your Pastor

How can you encourage your pastor? Well, you just did. By visiting this page you have shown that you want to be an encouragement to your pastor. And that in itself will be a support to him or her.

Now you just need some ideas on how to encourage your pastor. I’ve listed 52 suggestions below.

  • Pray for your pastor every day.
  • Send an email showing your pastor appreciation to your pastor and all your friends. Don’t use the blind copy email feature so that everyone’s name is listed at the top of the email. He will see that you are truly proud of him.
  • Send him a greeting card with a personal message inside.
  • Give him a hug.
  • Stop by the church and wash some windows.
  • Take his wife to lunch.
  • Make yourself available to teach a Sunday School class or work in the nursery during a service.
  • Offer to help fold bulletins.
  • Mow his lawn or shovel his driveway.
  • Send his young children a greeting card with McDonalds gift certificates inside.
  • Send a letter to his son or daughter who is away at college.
  • Visit someone in the hospital.
  • Call a home-bound church member.
  • Call his wife and ask what kind of pizza they like. Order it, pay for it, and have it sent to your pastor’s home.
  • Smile a little during his sermon.
  • Call him at an appropriate time and say, “In my bible reading this morning I read that _________. What does that mean?”
  • Drop off some doughnuts, bagels, or fruit to the church office for the entire staff to enjoy.
  • Babysit his kids so he and his wife can go out.
  • Rent a billboard and use it to express your pastor appreciation.
  • After a sermon, don’t tell him it was a great sermon. Pick out something specific from the sermon and comment directly on that. So many people tell him his sermon was “great” that he realizes their comment is the same as an American asking, “How are you?” We don’t really mean it … it’s just a greeting.
  • Perform a surprise pastor appreciation skit.
  • Have the 4 – 10 year old children in your church write down their answer to the question, “What does a pastor do?” Read the responses during a service.
  • Write an article for the church newsletter about how thankful you are for your pastor.
  • Support your church financially.
  • Get a group of people together to fast and pray for your pastor.
  • Give him a surprise birthday party.
  • Loan him your boat, four wheeler, or snowmobile.
  • Let his family use your cottage or timeshare.
  • Invite his kids to go to the beach with your family.
  • Take him golfing.
  • Buy his entire family tickets to a sporting event.
  • Write a story about your pastor appreciation and read it during a church service.
  • Put an ad in the local newspaper expressing your respect for your pastor.
  • Include a pastor appreciation poem in your Sunday bulletin.
  • On Sunday, ask him what you can pray about for him this week. Then next Sunday ask him how things went regarding what you prayed for.
  • If time is given during a service or event for public sharing, talk about something positive your pastor did recently that few people know about.
  • Defend him against critics.
  • Ask someone other than the pastor to pray before the next church meal.
  • ”Adopt” one of his children as someone you pray for, encourage, and support.
  • Give him a pastor appreciation gift.
  • Give his wife a gift.
  • Give your pastor’s kids gifts.
  • Write a letter to your church’s leaders expressing your gratitude for your pastor.
  • Listen openly to his ideas for change.
  • Sing your heart out at your church worship service.
  • Clean the church restrooms on Saturday night.
  • Keep track of his, his wife’s, and his children’s birthdays as well as his wedding anniversary.
  • Tell him you appreciate him … and why.
  • Sit closer to the front during a service.
  • Know the dates of when his parents (or child, sibling, close friend) died. Send him a card on that anniversary.
  • Write a letter of pastor appreciation to your church’s denominational headquarters.
  • Never publicly criticize him. If you have a concern or complaint, speak directly to him about it, or better, forgive him and forget it.

I hope this helps you know how to encourage your pastor.


How to Pray for Your Pastor

How To Pray for Your Pastor

You want to pray, but you’re not sure how to pray for your pastor. I’ve listed below 10 prayer requests that can help you start praying for him.

  • Insight into scripture and an understanding of how it applies to people today.
  • Protection from the work of Satan.
  • Help him keep a soft heart in the face of abrasive and abusive people.
  • His personal spiritual growth.
  • A successful ministry – however God defines success in his life.
  • Boldness to speak the truth, and grace to speak it with humility.
  • That he would persevere through whatever trial he is facing.
  • His children – that they will grow up with a positive impression of church ministry.
  • That he would remain pure, and that his love for his wife would increase daily.
  • That you would know how to encourage him today.

Pray for Your P-A-S-T-O-R

Here’s another way to pray for your pastor – especially if you have trouble remembering what to pray about. Use the letters of the word, P-A-S-T-O-R to remind you of specific prayer requests. For example:

P – Purity. Pray that your pastor will remain pure in the face of constant pressure in an immoral culture.

A – Adversity. Pray for your pastor that he will be able to confront adversity with faith and endurance.

S – Strength. Most pastors work long hours and at least six days a week. Pray that he will have the strength to continue his ministry.

T – Teaching. Pray for your pastor that his teaching and preaching will be effective, powerful, and clear.

O – Organization. Your pastor has more to do than any one person can handle. Pray for your pastor that he will be able to prioritize correctly.

R – Rest. Your pastor needs rest. Pray that your pastor will sleep well each night and that he will take enough time away from ministry so that he does not get worn out.

Pastor Appreciation Poems

 

Poetry speaks in a language all its own. Hopefully these pastor appreciation poems will help you show your thankfulness in a language clearly understood by your pastor.

You may also be able to use pastors wife poems , pastor anniversary poems , or more pastor poems.

God’s Instrument

This pastor appreciation poem is about how God uses pastors in our lives.

I see the hands that hold God’s word
And fold in prayer to seek His will.
I see the feet that walk the path
And offers of praise as from lofty hill.

I see the hands that serve Him well,
The ears that seek to hear His call,
The mouth that speaks truth and wisdom,
The busy feet that carry the message to all.

I see the heart that was pricked and entered
When God’s man answered the gospel call
And yielded His life as a humble servant,
A man who is willing, as was Apostle Paul.

I see all of this as he stands in the pulpit,
An instrument through which God speaks
The words of wisdom, of love and peace,
To lead and guide all those whom God seeks.

by Judy Crowe

The Gift

This pastor appreciation poem is based on Ephesians 4:8-13 which reads, “When Jesus ascended to the heights, he led a parade of captives and gave gifts to his people…He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ…”

When Jesus celebrated his victory over sin and death,
He chose to send gifts to those he set free.

He could have, of course, chosen to give us any thing: Knowledge, spiritual growth, protection from the Evil One, or even comfort during trials.

In the end, though, when Jesus celebrated his victory over sin and death,
He chose to give us all these things because, Pastor,
He chose to give us, you.

by Daniel Sherman

 

Pastors Wife Poems

Pastors wife poems are a unique way to tell your pastors wife how much you appreciate her. Pastors wives have a very challenging role to play in a church. They are not considered part of the church staff, but they often do as much ministry at and for the church as their husbands!

And while the pastor is very visible as he teaches, leads, and preaches, the pastor’s wife generally ministers in the background.

But no matter what role the pastors wife plays in your church I can assure you of one thing: without his wife your pastor would not be half the minister…half the man…he is.

So use these pastors wife poems to show your pastors wife the appreciation she deserves.

You may also be able to use some pastor appreciation poems , pastor anniversary poems , or more pastor poems.

I’d like to express my gratitude to Judy Crowe for allowing me to print so many of her pastors wife poems on this page.

To Our Pastor’s Wife Framed Calligraphy

Inspirational verse by Helen Bush has been recaptured in elegant calligraphy design by Laura Leiden on creamy ivory matting and accented with oval cross art and the Scripture The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1. Framed in classic dark wood; for wall or desk display. 7″ x 14″.

When we thank God for our pastor
We must give Him thanks for two,
For when your husband came to us
God also sent us you.

A pastor’s wife must be many things,
You have many hats to wear;
And we say thanks for all you do
And lift you up in prayer.

You adjust your life to meet the needs
Of your husband’s congregation,
And it seems that you can always cope
With most any situation.

Your presence blesses all of us
Who know you from day to day
As our pastor’s wife, you are serving God
In a fine and worthy way.

The Pastor’s Wife

This pastor’s wife poem reminds us that a pastor’s wife is “called” just as much as her husband.

We often hear of Heroes
on the news at night,
How someone went into a fire
To save someone else’s life.

But, there’s another hero
that we never hear about,
Though Her love and dedication
are never in a doubt.

Often took for granted…
Never glorified,
Still she keeps on going
for the person by her side.

She stands beside him everyday
no matter what … is thrown their way,
For he was called from above
To spread the message of “GOD’S LOVE”.

And just as he was called…
She was hand picked too.
for it takes someone Special
to do what she must do.

And thou he may get the Glory
and he may get the Fame,
She will stand beside him in Love
and Help him just the same.

She’s the person he turns to
when he needs a friend,
She will always be there till the
“Glorious End”.

I would like to take this moment
to introduce to you,
a LOVELY unsung Hero for whom
GOD hand-picked to spend Her life
as The Pastor’s WIFE.

Donna Golden, Georgia, USA

The Pastor’s Wife

This pastors wife poem describes the role and pressures of this very important person.

She’s a Godly woman, she has such grace
Always a warm greeting, a smile on her face.
She’s always encouraging, she knows her place.
She is – The Pastor’s Wife.

She has to always look just right
Always on time, though the schedule’s tight.
From early morning, ’til late at night
Always – The Pastor’s Wife

She’s such a Lady, everyone’s friend
She serves with love from deep within.
All the rifts she tries to mend
Oh she’s – The Pastor’s Wife

She carries your burdens, she prays for you
Sometimes she cries the whole night through.
But you won’t know when she’s feeling blue,
‘Cause she’s – The Pastor’s Wife

At church as she starts to walk up the aisle,
So many need to stop and talk for awhile.
Though she is tired, she has her own trials
She’s patient, she’s – The Pastor’s Wife

Her life, her time, is not her own
There’s always a need, they go on and on
With a knock at the door, or a ringing phone.
That’s the life of – The Pastor’s Wife

Her husband she shares with a whole congregation
She humbly accepts his intense dedication.
In loneliness she kneels to see consolation
God Bless – The Pastor’s Wife

She will someday reach the end of this race
As she meets her Master face to face
Surely our God has a Special Place
In Heaven for – The Pastor’s Wife!

Judy Dycus, March 10, 1992

Pastor’s Wife; Framed Sentiment

Classic gold borders accent our tribute to Pastor’s Wife, with heart-shaped cutout and filigree heart medallion. Framed in antique gold tone frame with easel back for display; sentiment: Pastor’s Wife – What a blessing you are in your service to the Lord. Your care and devotion are beautiful examples of a faithful heart. 7″ x 5.5″.

God Sends a Friend

Pastor’s wives often minister through and because of their own painful circumstances…that’s what makes them so compassionate and understanding. This pastors wife poem reminds us of this fact and calls us to respond with prayer.

When my heart is hurting,
My strength is overspent,
My body aches from weariness,
A friend from the Lord, is sent.

She is willing to listen,
To say an encouraging word,
Like the Lord sent an angel with
A voice sweet and gentle, I heard.

She is not without her pain,
For she has trials of her own,
But her concern for others
Is what is usually shown.

It is for this friend now,
That I would like to say
A fervent gentle prayer
And so for her now, I pray.

Lord bless this caring person,
May joy and peace for her abound,
For she shows me courage
And in her, new strength, I’ve found.

by Judy Crowe

A Ray of Sunshine On a Cloudy Day

There’s something special about the smile of a pastors wife. It brightens our day and says, “I understand.” This pastors wife poem is a way to tell her, “Thank you,” for her smile.

The world was turning upside down
And everything seemed to go wrong.
Then I saw a beautiful smile
On your face when you came along.

My day was cloudy with troubles and woes,
I couldn’t seem to get into gear,
Then suddenly before me there you were
And a ray of sunshine seemed to appear.

When you walk into my day
And bring your smile with a glowing face,
The clouds of despair soon disappear
And rays of sunshine take their place.

A smile from heaven it seems to me,
A gift from God to bring me through,
A way of making the day seem brighter
You are my ray of sunshine, a gift from you.

by Judy Crowe

Forever Friend

Many people have the privilege of calling their pastor’s wife, “friend.” This pastors wife poem speaks of that friendship.

A forever friend is one who can cry with me in my
sadness, yet make me laugh at my woes. She can laugh
with me in my joy and be happy because of my rewards.

A forever friend sees my faults but does not hold them
against me. When I have had a bad day and am a little
cross, my forever friend still loves me and tries
to share some of the burden.

A forever friendship is a sustaining power through
every trial, every storm and every hurt but most of all
a forever friend is one who loves without measure,
who gives without expecting a return
and who serves with joy.

by Judy Crowe

Pastor Anniversary Poems

Pastor anniversary poems are a great way to say, “Thank you” to your pastor for another year of faithful ministry in your church. You can use them in greeting cards, put them on PowerPoint slides, or print them in your church bulletin.

Silver Memories Lined With Gold

This pastor anniversary poem was specifically written for a pastor’s10th anniversary at the author’s church. However, you can easily substitute the appropriate number of years so you can use it for your pastor’s anniversary.

When you came to us, we were unsure,
With all of our needs, would you endure?
There has to be times you wanted to quit,
But the Lord said “No, stick around a bit.”

That bit of time, well it came and it went.
Because we needed a pastor, you were sent.
We have been through good times and bad,
But you stuck around and that makes us glad.

We share 10 years of wonderful memories here,
And all of them in our hearts, we hold dear.
You have been our pastor, our guide, and friend.
Your wisdom is so helpful as on God you depend.

It has been 10 years of good times and bad,
Most of them were happy, but some were sad.
Some of us have gone on to be with the Lord,
But we are still here with rivers to ford.

We will have trials and storms to go through,
But you have been there and shown us what to do.
Our prayers each day include you as we pray,
And we must give thanks for you each day.

Now, may the Lord be with you all of your days
And continue to use you as you give Him praise.
We love and appreciate you for all you have done
As we look back in wonder, where have the years gone?

by Judy Crowe

 

 

Love Remains

This pastor anniversary poem speaks of the enduring love between a pastor and his congregation.

Happiness grows as each year passes
And trials test the love that will grow.

Pleasures of the heart remain a treasure,
Perhaps a memory of some time ago.

Yesterday’s joys are your heart’s treasure
And love remains to guard the store.

Now and then we are reminded,
It is love (the key) that unlocks the door.

Vivid are the scenes of days gone by,
Each thought, a page from the past,

Reminding us that God guides our path and
Yielding to His will, our love will last.

by Judy Crowe
Pastor Gifts

Pastor gifts are an excellent and simple way to say, “Thank you,” to your pastor. Here are a few guidelines to help you find the perfect pastor gift.

1) Expensive gifts are not necessary. They are nice to receive and I never turned down season passes to the local golf course! But from experience I can tell you that it really is the thought that goes into the gift that makes it special.

2) Money is an o.k. gift…it allows the pastor and his wife to purchase whatever they need. But that’s the problem. When a pastor receives cash he often feels obligated to spend it on things he or his family needs. I don’t say this to completely discourage you from giving cash as a pastor’s gift. But if you give money, perhaps you could include a note that suggests they use it on something other than bills or daily necessities.

3) Be sure to include a gift for your pastor’s spouse.

4) Don’t forget the children. Pastors and their spouses absolutely love it when people give gifts to their children. A gift to the pastors kids shows the pastor and his wife that you really understand the needs of their family.

5) Group gifts as well as gifts from individuals are both important. A group gift allows the church to do something elaborate…even extravagant. But individual gifts put names and faces to the display of appreciation…it helps show that YOU are grateful for your pastor.

The ideas listed below are excellent pastor Christmas gifts, general gifts for your pastor, pastor appreciation gifts, or pastor anniversary gifts. For more gift ideas see these pages: pastor’s wife gifts , pastor’s kids gifts , and unique pastor gifts.
The gifts I describe below are only suggestions. The best ideas are those that you put a little of yourself into.

If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, try these unique minister gifts, and this list of pastor gift ideas.

Use your uniqueness in service to God
by Rick Warren

You don’t have to travel very far until you discover that God loves variety. Did you know he made more than 300,000 species of beetles alone? Would you call that creative overkill? Don’t you think the world could have gotten along just fine with only 50,000 species of beetles? So why did he make so many? Because he loves variety.

He likes variety in people, too. Have you ever taken a second at the airport to watch the parade of peculiar people walking by you? There’s proof right there that God loves variety. He made every single one of those individuals. He made you!

Psalm 139:13 (GN) says this: “You (God) created every part of me. You put me together in my mother’s womb.” In the Living Bible, verse 14 says: “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous.” Job 10:8a (GN) says: “Your hands formed and shaped me.

From these verses, we learn that God himself intentionally made each of us who we are. The Scripture teaches three foundational truths about you:

You are unique. It’s true. There’s not anybody in the world like you. There never has been, and there never will be. When God made you, he broke the mold. God does not create carbon copies; he only creates originals. If you were to search the whole world, you wouldn’t find two people who had the same footprint or fingerprint or voiceprint. Each person is unique. Why did God make you different from every person who’s ever lived? Why did he go to all that trouble? Because he wants you to know how much you matter to him.

You are wonderfully complex. How many of you married somebody who is wonderfully complex? The fact is, each of us is so complex that many times we are a mystery to ourselves. Have you ever acted in a certain way that surprised you? Have you ever said something and later thought, “What was I thinking when I said that?” Have you ever felt a certain way and later thought, “Why do I feel this way? What’s happening to me?” We are mysteries to ourselves. Have you ever been in a group and it seems that everybody reacted one way to a circumstance, and you found yourself reacting in the exact opposite way to everyone else in the group? Inside you think, “What’s wrong with me?” There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just unique.

Sometimes you just have to admit, “I don’t know why I feel this way. I don’t know why I said that. I don’t know why I thought that.” But God does. You are unique, and you’re wonderfully complex.

You were shaped for a purpose! The Bible tells us that God created everything in the world for a purpose — and that includes you. You’re not here by accident. You’re not just taking up space. God made you for a reason. You were designed by God, and it was his idea to make you. It’s not a mistake. You were planned before birth. God did not simply sit down at a computer and randomly access a bunch of components and throw it all together and then wait to see what popped out. The Bible clearly teaches that you were purposefully and personally planned and designed by God. His loving hand made you exactly the way you are. You’re not an accident. God had a plan in the genetic codes of your life. He didn’t just throw it all together. You are you because God wanted you to be you. Your uniqueness is what God wants you to offer to the world.

God gave you unique spiritual gifts, a unique heart, unique abilities, a unique personality, and a lifetime of unique experiences so you would make your own unique difference in the world. The way you’ve been put together affects every area of your life — your relationships, your career, your finances, your retirement, your enjoyment, your hobbies, and your recreation. And it absolutely affects your ministry.

Who you are is fixed, stable, enduring, and constant. Your unique shape does not change. As you go through different stages in life, you may have different expressions, but your shape demonstrates itself very early and continues with you for a lifetime. If you were pulling pranks as a little child, you’ll probably still be pulling pranks at 85. If you were wheeling and dealing in third grade at recess, trading marbles, when you’re in the rest home you’ll probably be wheeling and dealing in bed pans. It’s in your nature to be a wheeler dealer! If, as a little child, you had a caring heart for hurting animals — maybe you fixed a cat’s paw or a broken wing on a little bird — the rest of your life you’re going to be caring for hurting people and hurting animals. You’re made that way. It’s fixed. You never get tired of doing what you’re shaped to do. You don’t get bored with it. No matter how many satisfying experiences you have, you’re always ready for another one. Why? God made you that way.

The fact is you can’t be anything but you. It’s all you can be. There’s no escaping it. If you enjoy doing something over and over, you’ll repeat it. It becomes a pattern in your life. And though you may try to be like somebody else, eventually your real self will spurt through.

The next time you see a snowflake, consider this fact: There are 18 million snowflakes in a single cubic foot of snow — and not one of them is like another. We may not be able to tell them apart, but God can. And he loves variety.

If he went through all that trouble to make unique snowflakes, why should we be surprised that he took the time to make each of us unique? I pray you use your uniqueness to impact our world.

Until next week,

 

Article by Rick Warren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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