In Acts 20 Paul is giving a farewell speech to the Ephesians pastors. He had discipled them, trained them, and was now leaving them to do the work God had called them to do. The context of the challenges was strictly geared toward these ministry leaders. Read the detailed instruction he gives in verses 32-38:
 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.  I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.  Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.  And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.  And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,  Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.
With these reminders let’s consider six challenges for the ministry leaders of the church, particularly church staff.
I recently met with the search team of a church in our area that is seeking a new pastor. Most of them had never been through this process before, so I was grateful to pray with them and assist.
Having been contacted myself, as well as watching my father (a pastor for over 35 years) go through this a few times, I have observed the good and the not so good approaches. Here are some basic thoughts I shared with those men about the process of searching for a new pastor. I believe these considerations, though certainly not exhaustive, can help guide any search team in the right direction as they develop their plan for securing the next Pastor.
One candidate at a time.
Don’t create a competitive environment in your church by bringing in multiple candidates for the church family to review. This can create confusion and division. Choose one candidate, from a list of resumes or recommendations, that your team has researched carefully, prayed diligently over, and are 100% unified in bringing in for a visit and presenting to the church family. You may need to do a few phone interviews to help you determine the right candidate to bring in, but certainly keep one at a time in front of the congregation.
As we come to the end of this year and the beginning of another, I’m doing a lot of self-examination and personal renewal in each of my life roles. One role that I love so dearly is my pastoral relationship with my church family. Since it’s the season of giving I wanted to renew my commitment to give our people the best that I can as I fulfill my role as their pastor. Here are five gifts that I’m working hard to give our wonderful church:
Love for the people.
My father who has pastored for 35 years has exemplified, greater than any pastor I have ever known, what it means for a pastor to love his people and love them unconditionally. I’ve watched him my entire life and am learning that one of the greatest gifts I can ever give our church family is my love…and I want them to KNOW that I love them. I’m asking God to help me love them this coming year in a way that I’ve never loved them before, and to communicate that love regularly.