Q: I've been asked to be on the search committee for a new pastor for our church. What should we be looking for? We want someone who's friendly and preaches well, but what else should we be concerned about? - Mrs. K.D.
A: God has given your committee a very important responsibility, and your primary goal should be to seek His will in this matter. Therefore pray constantly in your committee for God's wisdom and guidance - and urge your congregation to do the same.
It's natural to seek someone who is outgoing and preaches well - and that isn't wrong. But the most important characteristic of any pastor should be a heart for God - a deep desire to live for Christ, and to see others come to know Him and serve Him. God appointed David as king over His people because, He said, "I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do" (Acts 13:22).
In other words, is Christ the center and foundation of that person's life, and is their desire to serve Him above all? Do they have a clear sense of calling - a deep conviction that God has called them into their ministry? Do they exhibit the qualities of a Christ-like character - the Spirit's fruit of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23)? Ask God to help you discover this, both from them and from others who know them.
In addition, pray for your congregation as your new pastor comes. It's easy to be critical of a new pastor because "he doesn't do things the way our old pastor did." Don't let this happen in your church, but urge people to encourage and pray for your new pastor every day.