When picking a new pastor, begin with prayer

01/18/2014 6:32 PM

01/18/2014 6:32 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Our pastor recently retired after almost 25 years, and I’m on the search committee. What kind of person do you think we ought to look for? — N.H.

DEAR N.H.:

The most important thing your committee and your congregation should be doing is to prayerfully seek God’s will and God’s wisdom. God wants to guide you to the person he has already prepared for this responsibility.

It’s not too soon to be praying also that your congregation will welcome and support and encourage your new pastor. The Bible says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you so that their work will be a joy, not a burden” (Hebrews 13:7,17).

What qualities should you seek in a pastor? First, your pastor should have a strong commitment to Christ, and a definite sense of God’s calling to be a pastor. Then your pastor should be a person of integrity and honesty. A pastor’s life also should be marked by prayer, faith, compassion and love. Your pastor should be a person of vision, as well, seeking to strengthen believers and reach the lost for Christ.

No pastor will be perfect (just as your congregation isn’t perfect), but pray that your new pastor will “Preach the word. correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).

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