How to Find a Pastor: Guidelines for the Search from Mark Dever

Here is a summary of Mark Dever’s proposed book on How to Find a Pastor: Guidelines for the Search from the Pastoral Transitions breakout at the 2011 Gospel Coalition National Conference

If churches were healthier, you’d never need to read a book like this — ┬áthe last guy would have taken care of this before he left. Indeed, you would have realized that having the last guy take care of this is one of the most important parts of his ministry.

Enemies in View (Eight Suggested Chapters)

  1. Denominational Leaches
    1. Positive Lesson – Consider the self-interest of those who recommend, that denominational staff want to keep your church in the denomination and won’t necessarily be thinking what’s best for your individual church
  2. Proud Businessmen who hire a preacher for their church
    1. God calls pastors and gives as gifts to a church, the elders lead the church
  3. Pastoral Failures who don’t lead in finding a good successor
    1. Positive Lesson – It need not be self-aggrandizing or nepotistic interference for a pastor to lead a church in one of the most important decisions it will make
  4. Tournament Hosts who want only “the best” for their church
    1. Positive Lesson – It is proud to think you need to have a good pastor who is better than other pastors. Look one at a time for a brother who can serve you well. It’s not a beauty pageant
  5. Age-ists
    1. Positive Lesson – God raises up young men who watch their life and doctrine closely and are gifted to teach His word publicly. Hire them when they’re a cub, let them chew things up around the house for a while and you’ll have a lion that loves you for life
  6. Resume-lovers: 300 anonymous resumes rather than a reference from a trusted pastor
    1. Positive Lesson – Find a church you like with a pastoral ministry you like and approach the pastor for a suggestion. Pursue that person until you are certain he would not be good and you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.
  7. Stealers of successful pastors from other churches
    1. ┬áPositive Lesson – Why do we think that God loves our congregation more than the one we would take this pastor from. Why are we being so secretive? Does this suggest that something may be amiss?
  8. MDiv Requirers
    1. Really? Have you seen how many people out there have MDivs?
    2. Mark Dever doesn’t believe at all that an Mdiv is necessary to be a good pastor