How does a church choose a bank? Typically we look for the best deal and then pat ourselves on the back for our good stewardship, as if stewardship had to do simply with saving money rather than with putting it to good use.
Christian author Carole Lewis stands at the front of the congregation, sharing her tale of woe—bankruptcy, a daughter's death, a husband's prostate cancer, a home destroyed by a hurricane. Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman stands nearby, listening attentively.
Some congregations are increasingly relying on search firms to fill pastoral vacancies. Minister Search, the first such firm, began in 2001. It didn’t have a single client the first year, but now it does searches for 30 to 50 pastoral positions annually. Another firm began in 2010 and has completed 753 placements. Ministerial search firms are particularly popular with independent congregations, which lack a denominational structure for finding candidates. Firms typically charge a congregation about one-third the annual compensation of the hired minister (Chicago Tribune, September 4).