"Pastor Searches for Dummies" would have been a fitting title for the latest book from Frank S. Page, he wrote in the book's introduction.
Instead, the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President and CEO chose "Looking for a New Pastor" as the title of his new guidebook. The book, released June 1st by B&H Publishing, shares biblical instruction and practical insights gleaned from Page's 34 years in the pastorate and additional, ongoing denominational service.
"I was inspired to write this book out of a deep sense of need. Having been a pastor a long time and now helping churches across our convention, I found that many churches, if not most, struggle when it comes to finding a new pastor," Page told Baptist Press. "In almost every situation, laypersons are charged with seeking a new pastor and many of them are unprepared to ask the right questions. Thus the subtitle of the book, '10 Questions Every Church Should Ask.'"
Page designed the book for laypersons who serve on pastoral search teams as well as pastors seeking new posts.
Thousands of senior pastors resign from their jobs in the U.S. each year, Page said, leaving about 10 percent of churches with the task of hiring a new leader. Making sure pastors and churches are well suited for one another, and communicating needs and expectations clearly during the search process, can often make the difference in a pastor's length of service, Page said.
"The pitfalls which churches often encounter are many and varied," Page told BP. "Often the 'vetting' process is weak and this leads to difficult and sometimes disastrous situations. In the book, I help churches learn how to truly discover the DNA of their own church as they also discover the true DNA of the pastoral candidate."
Page reveals such insights as "10 things a pastor wishes the search committee had revealed," "10 things churches wish their former pastor had told them" and "10 things the candidate will not tell the committee." Getting started in the pastoral search, strategies to avoid, deciding what to look for in a senior pastor, and questions to ask during interviews are included.
"I believe church leaders can learn a great deal from reading the book because I share real life examples of things to watch for, warning signs to be aware of and successes and failures which are often replicated across the nation," Page said. "It is a highly practical book which deals with the struggles that most search committees and churches deal with."
Page pastored Taylors First Baptist Church in Taylor, S.C., and churches in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas before his 2010 election to lead the SBC Executive Committee. He was SBC president from 2006-2008, and has pastored several congregations on an interim basis.
The book is available at LifeWay Christian Book Stores and other top retail outlets.
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor.