June 18, 2012

Candidating: Am I Mrs. Right? Part I

Most of us do not marry someone after seeing him only one or two times. And yet, many pastors “marry” a church under similar circumstances. The candidating process leading to this marriage can be stressful for both the one searching for a place to minister and the committee searching for a minister.

I am on a church search committee, and I know that both parties have much in common. For example, we have questions similar to those we ask before marriage. Is this God’s will? Are we a compatible match? What happened in the previous relationship? Will he/they love me once we see each other’s faults?

However, it encourages me that all of us are working to glorify Christ in this decision. And, the committee isn’t concerned with some of the minor things you may be worried about. So, if you find yourself as the wife of a man who is looking for his first church or his fourth, please be encouraged. Together, we are embarking on a new adventure.

You have Someone by your side. We know that God is working salvation in His children, including you. All the details are part of His plan. God moved you and your husband to take this step. He is at your side as you two send out resumes and are interviewed. God will continue to help you in the future even if candidating doesn’t turn out the way you expect. See Philippians 1:6.

We are praying for you. There is something very attractive about being part of an entire church’s particular prayer request. Most churches really want the right shepherd to lead them. So, they will ask God to guide both the search committee and the applicants. The body may not know your name, but it is praying for you. The committee prays for you, too. See James 1:5.

You have someone else by your side. You play a supporting role in this endeavor, but you have your husband to lean on, as well. Being married to a man who is paid to read the Bible, among other things, is an advantage when important decisions are made. This man chose you to be his wife. If the search committee thinks your husband makes wise choices, it will approve of you, too. See Genesis 2:24.

We didn’t even notice. None of the people in my church have all the biblical answers to all of life’s problems. Ditto for the search committee. Therefore, we are not looking for you to be the "Bible Answer Woman." And, guess what? Our children are not perfect; neither is our hair. We don’t expect you to have those things either. Furthermore, we won’t require you to speak Greek or write Ugaritic. 
See I Samuel 16:7b.

Please relax and realize that God is in control. Think of how He led you to meet your husband,  who turned out to be Mr. Right. Now, He will guide you toward the church that is a good match for you.


  1. Samuel Johnson famously said, "A man is better pleased with a good dinner on the table than a wife who talks Greek." Sounds like search committees are of the same first-things-first mentality!

  2. I'm currently candidating at another church, and I happened to stumble upon this post from several years ago. Particularly the point about the church and pulpit committee praying for their new shepherd was a matter of sweet encouragement. Thank you for this post!


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