Selecting Church Leaders/Pastors

November 18, 2012

There was a helpful link and summary on the DBTS blog yesterday to an article in the Harvard Business Review blog—not the place where one would normally expect to find a lot of material helpful in, e.g., a pastoral search process!

Pearson Johnson’s post on the DBTS blog is titled “Looking for a Leader with Charisma? Look Again.” He summarizes and briefly applies the article on the HBR blog by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic titled “The Dark Side of Charisma.”

There is not a lot to be gained by summarizing a summary, so I’ll be content with encouraging you to read both articles linked above and citing only one statement from Johnson’s summary:

So many churches focus on finding and promoting charismatic leaders while ignoring or assuming these significant lists of character-based and Spirit-based qualities [i.e., the list of qualifications given in the Pastoral Epistles].

This discussion is very relevant to my own church right now. Following our pastor’s retirement after 30 years at our church we are in the process of selecting his replacement. We have an official candidate coming next week who, I think, would do well and fits our church as well as anyone I know. A couple of our folks, however, don’t think he has enough charisma. They are comparing him with someone else who has filled the pulpit a number of times over the last 8 months who is definitely more charismatic (in the personal sense). His pulpit ministry, however, once you get beyond the dynamic introduction, is a bit on the shallow side and the exposition tends to be somewhat superficial. He’s a “really nice guy,” but long term pastoral ministry requires more than that. The two articles cited above make the good point that it’s better to have a bit less “flash” up front and greater depth in other areas. (Yes, there is the rare combination of both, but those pastors are few and far between and not the sort of person that the average church will ever experience long term.)