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What do ABs look for when considering a pastor for appointment?

 
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Post What do ABs look for when considering a pastor for appointment? Quiet Wyatt
I am curious. I see some pastors who seem to move every year or two in the CoG. They obviously have to be chosen by the AB in order to be appointed to each new church they go to. I just wonder how that happens.

What criteria do the ABs go by to assess pastoral candidates? Does relative longevity in a pastorate (say, at least 5 years) help or harm a pastor’s worthiness for consideration for a new appointment? Is the primary consideration nickels and noses (stats)?

Perhaps someone here may have some insight into this. Hopefully it’s not something only ABs or former ABs know the answer to.
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1/20/23 11:20 pm


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Post Re: What do ABs look for when considering a pastor for appointment? Carolyn Smith
Quiet Wyatt wrote:
I am curious. I see some pastors who seem to move every year or two in the CoG. They obviously have to be chosen by the AB in order to be appointed to each new church they go to. I just wonder how that happens.

What criteria do the ABs go by to assess pastoral candidates? Does relative longevity in a pastorate (say, at least 5 years) help or harm a pastor’s worthiness for consideration for a new appointment? Is the primary consideration nickels and noses (stats)?

Perhaps someone here may have some insight into this. Hopefully it’s not something only ABs or former ABs know the answer to.


I don't think it's necessarily because the AB chose the pastor to take a church. The flip side of the coin is the pastor could be asking for a change.

I've heard several times of pastors asking for a pastoral change for reasons such as, "I ran out of sermons."

When we were in MIP eons ago, the AB told a story about having a large church come available. He had four different pastors tell him that God had told them they were supposed to be going to this church. He told all 4 of them to go. I always wondered what the outcome of that story was!
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1/20/23 11:43 pm


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Post Quiet Wyatt
Sorry if I gave the impression that it was only the AB’s decision. Of course that is ultimately the case in our episcopal/hierarchical form of government, but I realize a pastor has to ask to be considered for a move, and the congregation generally is given the opportunity to vote as well.

My question has to do with the final decision being the AB’s choice to appoint one over the other. It is a mystery to me, and I would just like to understand it better.
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1/20/23 11:49 pm


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Post I'm not an AB... 4thgeneration
...but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express... (sorry, couldn't resist)

Numerous factors play into the decision for a pastor. Things like qualifications, experience, the need/urgency of a move, the request of the church or leaders in the church being considered for a specific person. There are also times when truthfully the politics of the system factor into the decision. And there are appointments that come from Cleveland rather than the state office. Those are often done when an AB or other official is tenuring out or ending their term for other reasons, and they are placed by the EC.

I find that it is often not just one thing that tips the scale, but a culmination of various elements that bring an AB to their decision on who to present.

Of course, there are those every 2 years people as you mention, who seem to never settle in and pastor at a location for any length of time. If you watch them, it seems they often exist in the lateral movement world, never really moving to churches that are significantly larger or more advanced than their latest one... or last ten.

There is also the wide variety of methods used by AB's in placing pastors. I've known some who will take every resume/name of people who express interest or desire. They work through weeding the number down by using the church's council, settling on one or two. Those will often preach and meet with the congregation prior to them "voting." I've known other AB's that take only one name at a time for the church to consider. Often the process also includes preaching and meeting with the church prior to the church's "vote." Then there are times when it is more fitting for the AB to simply appoint a pastor.

Voting by the local church is not an election of a pastor, but a recommendation to the AB. Our minutes are clear that pastors are appointed by the AB. At times the AB can allow a congregation to fill out an expression of preference, and when that is done, the AB usually goes with the result of said "vote," appointing that individual to the church.

Again, I am not an AB. I have however, served for many years now as a DO, and on the state council, giving me insight into the process. And as a pastor I've been appointed a few times in the many years of my ministry.

And I have actually stayed at a Holiday Inn Express... so there you go! lol
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1/21/23 8:24 pm


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Post Quiet Wyatt
Thanks for sharing your perspective. Any thoughts on whether longevity in pastorates has any impact upon how a candidate is considered by an AB?

From my perspective, I’ve known guys who pastored over 5 years in a hard place bivocationally, who never were offered anything but a similar-sized church at best. I get it’s not as if they’ve somehow earned a better situation, but it seems to me that sticking it out in a difficult bivocational pastorate for several years doesn’t really count for much and isn’t really seen as all that valuable by ABs. I realize my perspective is of course limited, and I’m not saying it definitely is that way. It’s just how things appear to me.

We always hear long-term pastorates are better, but it doesn’t seem to me that long-term pastors are more valued than short-term (1 or 2 year) pastors in the CoG when it comes to consideration for appointment to a church larger than the one they’re at.

I guess my basic question is, what factors decide whether a pastor may get the opportunity to move up to a better church?
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1/21/23 10:04 pm


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Post FLRon
Unless things have changed drastically, being a bivocational pastor is not seen as a plus by an AB. I base that statement on what I was told by my own AB when I began the credentialing process many years ago. He asked me directly if I intended to become a full time minister, to which I replied‘yes,of course’. He then said ‘good, we don’t need any more part time preachers’.

As far as moving up to a bigger church goes, track record is a factor. So is potential, which of course can include its own criteria. Keep in mind that the performance of bigger churches reflects positively on the AB, so there is the expectation that a new appointment to a bigger church will in no way reflect negatively on the AB. I think that is one of the biggest factors, whether an AB will admit it or not.

Other factors include repayment for a favor, orders from Cleveland, and the like. It is my honest belief that prayer and the will of the Lord are no longer near the top of the list of important criteria as they once were.
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1/22/23 4:10 pm


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Post Factors in a pastoral appointment... COGLayman
ABs tend to appoint people they know. Do you know your AB? Have you been supportive of the state programs? Are you a team player?

What is your track record? Why did you leave past appointments? If you have been a pastor, have you made sure your church reports are in on time? Have you been supportive of missions, YWEA, and programs the denomination has asked for your help with? Are you a problem causer or a problem solver? Have you been successful in whatever role you have had?

A pastor who has had a church that has gone from 25 to 125 would have a lot of options. A pastor who has taken a church from 125 to 25 would have very limited options. Numbers mean a lot.

If you are looking to be a pastor for the first time you need to be in a situation that will let you be a candidate to move up. If you are an assistant pastor and the pastor you are under retires you may be considered for that opening or at another church when another pastor comes from another church to fill the opening at the church you have been at. There are a lot of rules that are followed that are never listed in the minutes.

Be a team player and show yourself worthy by your record.
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1/22/23 6:37 pm


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Post In my "experience"... Aaron Scott
In my experience--and by that I mean a mixture of word-of-mouth (positive and negative) and observations--I offer the following:

First, just in case anyone thinks it might work this way, you can stay at the most difficult church in Church of God history for 25 years...and you still aren't going to be appointed to North Cleveland unless you connected. And those who are connected are often the ones who preach campmeetings, etc. There is nothing wrong with that! It's just that you just don't get a gold-standard appointment for longevity or putting up with a difficult situation.

I don't know of anyone who is rewarded--except by God--for having stuck it out in a tough pastorate. That is, they will never get a call from the AB that says, "Hey, I've noticed that you've stuck it out in that tough situation for X years, and I want to promote you to a much nicer, larger, better church." Now, if such a pastor called the AB and said he was ready to move on, then other things come into play....

First, what churches are open? If someone pastors a small and/or difficult church, it is almost certain that the pastor of a much larger church who wants to move on...is not going to want to "trade down" for that sort of church. While a pastor may move to a slightly larger/better church, they usually stay within their tier (e.g., 0-60, 61-100, 101-150, or whatever the categories are).

Further, if a large church does come open, an AB is a man of God...but he is still a man. And if he has a friend that has expressed a desire (or the willingness) to come to that state, it is very likely that friend may get a call from the AB. I don't believe an AB would do that if God said not to do it, but I also believe that it is rare for an AB to get a very specific word from God about just whom should go to this or that church. I believe they pray about it, but in the absence of a check in their spirit or a direct word from the Lord, they do like the rest of us: They do the best they can.

So pastors tend to move within their "tier," except in special circumstances (connections, mainly).

There are pastors who are exceptional men of God and exceptional preachers. But that is not always all that is considered.... If a church if filled with young marrieds, a 63-year-old pastor will probably not make the cut. If it's filled with beautiful, health-nut folks, I'm not going to make the cut. It's just the case that a pastor usually has to "fit." If it is a church filled with young, stylish people, the pastor and his wife are going to need to be in that ballpark.

The men who are well-known for their preaching in the Church of God (e.g., Tim Hill, Mark Williams, Raymond Culpepper, William Lee, etc.) are the ones who, if they make known how they feel, could probably land a really good church if they made it clear enough. But just like all preachers, no one is wanting to go to a place that would be a step down, would pay significantly less, etc. That's human nature. Yes, I believe any of us would go anywhere IF IF IF God told us to. But otherwise, I'm not looking for a smaller church (is there one?) or one that pays less. That's just...normal. And that is one reason well-known leaders tend to go to well-known churches.

Then there is at least one more consideration (maybe many more). Since the new church would likely have some say in whether someone came, it might be that a church of 250 is not going to think that a pastor of a church of 35 is going to be able to cut it. That may not at all be the case, but it may very well be the perception.

Further, since "pastoring a difficult church" and "faithfulness" are not exactly measurable, these metrics don't work very well (except in heaven). But thing like numeric growth and a significant increase in tithes...those things attract some attention, and might cause an AB to think "Well, if they were able to grow their little church's numbers and tithes, maybe it will work at this next church also."

Who knows? I can barely seem to keep it all together with my little church while working a secular job, so I think I'll try not to jump out of the frying pan...unless the Lord clearly opens a door. This July will be 10 years.
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1/23/23 1:35 pm


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Post Quiet Wyatt
One thing I will say, if there were no bivocational pastors in the CoG, most of our churches would have no pastor at all. Who’s going to pastor the majority of churches, which can’t afford a full-time pastor? It’s ridiculous to think of bivo pastors as somehow less worthy of esteem and promotion, or to consider them just “part-time pastors.” Give me a break. [Insert Acts Pun Here]
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1/23/23 4:54 pm


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Post My opinion roughridercog
1. First they want a pastor that will help the church grow, not tear it apart and give the state a church to make payments on or sell the property.
2. They want a team player who will support the state program, world and home missions, and will be present at state functions.
3. They often have friends that they want to help and in their mind, if they bring in those guys, they will be more loyal to him.
4. They have small churches that struggle with expenses and don't really pay a salary. They have to recruit and screen pastors who often pay for the privilege of preaching.

just my two cents worth
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1/23/23 8:11 pm


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Post Nature Boy Florida
Bivocational pastors ARE at the bottom of the pecking order.

Here is why:

A pastor that only has the pastor job - he oversees a church decline where the church is no longer able to pay his expenses.

The overseer feels sorry for him and places him at a church that can pay him.

He figures bivocational pastor is already taken care of - thus leaving him in the bivo twilight zone- unless his current church grows to where it can pay all expenses and a pastors salary. He will never be offerred a full paying church for that reason - unless he is friend/family with overseer.

I'm sure there are exceptions - but this is what I have seen many times.

It works this way for youth directors/other state or general appointments. One need only look at the names of those that get promoted to these jobs. I know there are exceptions - but most often those guys must be very exceptional to be recognized.

It's just the way it is. I am now too old to believe it will change.
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Last edited by Nature Boy Florida on 1/24/23 2:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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1/24/23 10:10 am


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Post Full-time vs. Bi-Voc Pastors Aaron Scott
NBF said something about how a full-time pastor might get a new appointment if the church's decline means they can't afford to pay him. I would offer another take on that (although NBF's take might also be the case--though you cannot trust him)...

A full-time pastor has "skin in the game" in a way that a bi-vocational pastor does not. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. A full-time pastor would, it seems, be much more prone to try to grow the church--or certainly to maintain it at current levels.

But that can also play out such that a full-time pastor is overly-reluctant to deal with issues that a big tither may be causing. Why? Because it would have a more direct impact on his salary in many cases.

Another negative thing that can be the case with full-time pastors is that they feel so beholden to the church that they wind up neglecting their family. In other words, while most folks would earn their salary with 40 hours a week, a pastor can feel like he is never doing quite enough. That's true for bi-vocational pastors too, of course, but we likely have a line that says something like "I've worked all week, and I'm worn out; I am not going to mow the yard today." You get the idea.

I imagine that an AB thinks that a full-time pastor will hustle more. And I suppose that is true, since bi-vocational pastors have to hustle elsewhere to bring in funds.

My dad was a full-time evangelist, and later he was a full time pastor. He liked to work me to death sometimes. I still recall us building rafters in the middle of a torrid Tampa summer. I remember I stood up and saw spots because I had sweated so much and was near exhaustion. I tried to get him to take a break from noon to four or the such, but that's not how they build 'em in east Tennessee, apparently, because we would just keep on working.

I don't think he felt any particular pressure to do that sort of work at the church--although he clearly felt the spiritual and pastoral "pressure" to prepare well for preaching--but when work had to be done around the church, he would be out there with the rest of us digging trenches, tearing off a roof, etc. The only thing he fully delegated was mowing the lawn, I think. And even then he got the gas and the such.
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1/24/23 10:43 am


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