top of page


Church Windows

Below is a basic outline of our Pastoral Search Committee Operating System.  It will provide you an overview of the sections and topics covered in our full document. 

Step 1:  Beginning the Process


  1. Schedule special times of reoccurring corporate prayer throughout the search AND Transition Time; as well as times of reoccurring corporate prayer and fasting (for those who can fast).  Note: Transition Time is the first 6 months of the new pastor being in place.

  2. Send out a weekly prayer newsletter about specifics that your people can be praying for during that week (and include testimonials as well).


Search Committee Build

You may want to start with a search committee coach/consultant at this point.

  1. The church Board/congregation should review and follow your church’s constitution and by-laws for guidance on how to form and conduct your pastoral search committee.

  2. Decide who will chair/lead the Search Committee.

  3. Decide when the Board, if different from the Search Committee, should get involved in the interview process. The board will need to be involved in some of the "Understand Your Church" section.

  4. At least two Search Committee members, including the Committee Chair, should give a detailed report to the Board (at least) monthly and the Search Committee Chair should give a summary report to the congregation monthly.

  5. Set a budget for your pastoral search.  Keep in mind that this budget will most likely need to be approved and allocated by the church Board.

Step 2:  Building the Process

Understand Your Church

  1. Sit down as a Leadership Team(s)/Board/Staff/Search Committee/Church and review your previous pastor’s fit to your church. 

  2. Review (or document) your church’s purpose, mission, and vision.

  3. Write the first draft of your pastoral job description.

  4. Do a SWOT analysis.

  5. Take a fresh look at your digital footprint, especially your website.

  6. Assess your pastoral compensation.

  7. Allow your congregation to interact with your purpose, mission, and vision, your initial job description, and (maybe) your SWOT Analysis.

  8. Review draft 1 of your job description and write draft 2.  Use all of the newly built/reviewed materials above to write draft 2 of your pastoral job description.

  9. Begin to address any urgent/pressing problems that surface through doing any/all of the work above.

  10. Clean up your membership/voting roster.

  11. Finalize your pastoral job description.

Build Your Interview Process

  1. ​Create a candidate application/submission process and requirements.

  2. Create a submission review process.

  3. Create a sermon review process.

  4. Create the major rounds of the interview process.

a. Screening interview review process

b. First full interviews 

c. First full interview review process

d. Background check and reference check process

e. Second full interviews

f. Second full interview review process

Complete an Independent Legal Review of All Hiring and Interview Processes & Procedures

Step 3:  Executing the Process

  1. Use your newly finalized pastoral job description to create a job posting/ad.

  2. Post your pastoral job posting through all internal channels.

  3. Post your job posting on the job search sites of your choosing. 

  4. Conduct screening interviews if candidate submission levels require it. 

  5. Prayerfully execute your screening interview review process.

  6. Conduct your first full interviews.

  7. Prayerfully execute the sermon review process.

  8. Prayerfully execute the first full interview review process.

  9. Conduct background checks and call references.

  10. Conduct your second full interviews. 

  11. Prayerfully execute the second full interview review process.

  12. Conduct your Candidate Weekend.

a. Have a Search Committee and Board social with the candidate and their family.

b. Have a Church social.

c. Have an all-church prayer meeting with the candidate and their family.

d. After the Sunday Service(s), have a time of Q and A.

e. DO NOT vote on the candidate during your Candidate Weekend.

12. Prayerfully walk through Review Week – which is the week after the Candidate Weekend.

13. Vote in your new pastor during Voting Weekend… which is the weekend AFTER Review Week.

a. Have a confirmation meeting. 

b. Follow the voting, meeting, and quorum procedures laid out in your constitution and bylaws.

c. Confirm flying colors. 

14. Begin Transition Time.

Do you want the full Pastoral Search Committee Operating System document with all the details?  Click here to apply for a FREE search committee consultation meeting.  After your consultation, we will send you a digital copy of our full Pastoral Search Committee Operating System document.  

bottom of page