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Ep. 420 How Do You Assess and Prepare a Future Pastor for Ministry?

Ep. 420 How Do You Assess and Prepare a Future Pastor for Ministry

Shows Main Idea – Pastoral ministry is one of the more complex vocations a person could choose. We all have our stories. We know the statistics, the burnout rates, and the aftermath of a failed pastor. But there are more of them who do it well. Extremely well. The successes far outshine the failures, though we hardly talk about those doing it the right way. Goodness is not as tweetable as badness, but it’s worth asking: what makes a good pastor? What are some things you should look for in a potential pastoral candidate?

Show Notes

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The Formula

There are a zillion books written on pastoral ministry and what makes a great leader, so what I have to say is not the last word, best word, or the exhaustive word. But I trust it will help point churches in a helpful direction while saving a few of them from making horrible mistakes. Like marriage, it’s better not to take the plunge than to marry the wrong person or install the wrong guy. It’s easier to work through the disappointment by breaking it off than trying to remove a pastor and recover from him.

A familiar formula for becoming a pastor is “a burden equals a presumptive calling, ability, and position.” If you have a burden, the assumption is God’s call, and the person will receive the training and will step into their pastoral passion. Often, it’s more about a self-appointment than a decision born from a community of sound and reasonable people who know their Bibles and have the courage to do the hard thing.

When assessing a potential future pastor, you’re looking at five areas minimally. They are character, capacity, competency, courage, and compassion. I will give you a thumbnail sketch of these categories, hoping it will spur you to more discussions and assessments and perhaps find a good fit for your church. You may also take advantage of this graphic, hoping it will bring more clarity.

Five Point Leadership Analysis

The Fab Five

#1 Character

  • You assess a person’s character by being with them, not through personality tests.
  • Personality tests won’t tell you about their heart motives, shaping influences, or how they work with others, among other things.
  • The subjective timeline for discerning a person is two to three years.

#2 Capacity

  • What are their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses?
  • What do they have the presence of currently, though they have yet perfected these things? What do you foresee him doing?
  • What is his gift mix? He is unique, unlike anyone else: how will he fit into your community and benefit the church?

#3 Competency

  • What training have they received? The acquisition of knowledge is the easy part while its application is not.
  • What are their skills, ability to teach, socialize, counsel, build a team, and the best church size for the individual?
  • What is his effect on others, i.e., his wife, children, and other relationships?
  • Who has he developed, and how are those folks doing now?

#4 Courage

  • How is he doing with the mortification of the fear of man?

#5 Compassion

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Random Thoughts

  • Does the person have appropriate self-awareness? Do others have similar opinions of him?
  • How do you know he does not struggle with selfish ambition?
  • Who has mentored him and has insight into his life? What does his mentor say about him?
  • How do you know he’s qualified? What do you base your opinion on? What criteria? Who agrees with you?

Call to Action

  1. If we can help you with a specific question, come to our website to ask it.
  2. Perhaps you have a candidate interested in our Mastermind Training. Check it out by following the link.
  3. Please take advantage of all the resources linked to these Show Notes, plus our search feature. I’ve written many articles on pastoral ministry, leadership, assessment, and more.

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