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CHICAGO, IL, January 18, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A church looking for a pastor faces a more difficult task than Moses and the Israelites faced, says Dr. Chris Brauns, author of a new book called When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search: Biblical Principles and Practices to Guide Your Search (Moody Publishers).
"It was the distinct advantage of the Israelites when they were fleeing from the Egyptians that they knew that they were in trouble and couldn't possibly get out of the mess they were in on their own," Brauns explains. "Churches, on the other hand, think they can do this impossible thing in their own strength."
A requisite tool for congregations facing the transition of pastoral leadership, When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search is also an invaluable resource for those seeking to fill other church leadership positions, including youth pastors.
In his former life, Braun worked in product development in medical diagnostics for Bayer. He now serves as the senior pastor at Congregational Christian Church of Stillman Valley, Ill., and is also the author of Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds.
Holding both an MBA and a doctorate in ministry, Brauns brings his corporate and pastoral experience to bear in When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search, outlining innumerable biblical principles and best hiring practices that are applicable to churches of any size. Taking his cues once again from Moses and the Israelites, the author lays out these "10 commandments" for churches seeking to hire their next pastor.
1. Thou shalt choose the right people for the pastoral search committee. "This is the single most important factor in finding the right pastor," Braun says. "I spend the first three chapters looking at the biblical example of the Bereans [Acts 17:10-15] to help churches form a Word-centered pastoral search committee."
2. Thou shalt pray ... often. Prayer is the "dental floss" of pastoral searches, the author says--something we know we should use but more often than not leave at home. "Any time we truly realize that we face an impossible situation, it will do wonders for our prayer lives. That is where you need to be as a pastoral search committee."
3. Thou shalt be Word-centered rather than people centered. "A word-centered committee will evaluate candidates against biblical qualifications. For these groups, the qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 will be a constant."
4. Thou shalt insist on follow-through by pastoral search committee members. "Too much is at stake in a pastoral search to risk making uninformed decisions because someone did not do his or her job."
5. Thou shalt be patient. "It is not uncommon for pastoral searches to last two years or more. Therefore, it is important from the beginning that leaders encourage the church that they will need to be patient."
6. Thou shalt properly administrate the pastoral search. "Appoint or, preferably, hire someone to be in charge of administration for the search--keeping track of resumes, correspondence, references and background checks."
7. Thou shalt communicate to the congregation. "Written updates to your church on at least a monthly basis will encourage your flock that the process is moving forward."
8. Thou shalt adequately budget for the search. "Spending 20 to 40 percent of the pastor's annual compensation and benefits package, or even more, is a wise investment. When you consider needing to do another pastoral search, a poor decision could easily cost two to three times the pastor's annual compensation and benefits."
9. Thou shalt not allow the experience with the previous pastor to direct the calling of the next pastor. "Make it your goal to be Word-centered in hiring your next pastor rather than centered in your experience."
10. Thou shalt not spend too much time trying to call pastors who are not "reasonably gettable." "Rick Warren would probably do a good job as your next pastor. But odds are that he isn't going to accept. Look for someone who is a good fit in your church and community."
In and of ourselves, none of us have the wisdom that will ensure a successful pastoral search, Brauns concludes: "My prayer is that this book will be used to encourage churches to be absolutely determined to look to the Word as they seek to call their next pastor."
For review copies or interviews with Dr. Chris Brauns, contact Joe Forrider at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 329-2163.
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