How to Apply For a Church (Friendly Advice)

by Robert Earl Houston

This site is one of the first and certainly now one among many that offer a listing of African-American Baptist Churches that are looking for a pastor. I want to attempt to say a few things about the application process as it relates to this site:

a.  We DO NOT accept any resumes or issue any verbal invitations on behalf of any church – period. Every posting has a method of contact with the individual church. Frankly, I don’t need to know how long you’ve been in ministry, your desires, etc. Contact the local church ONLY.

b.  We DO NOT refer or endorse any candidate to a church. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a call from a Pulpit Committee and they’ve said, “Rev. XYZ has your name listed as a reference” and I haven’t either seen or spoken with that person either before or in years. In order for me to provide this service, I have to do so without ulterior motives and so I cannot do so, risk my integrity, by endorsing anyone to a church. Especially nowadays with so much foolishness happening in pulpits, if I don’t know you, it’s not in your best interest nor in the best interest of a church to endorse you or “set up an appointment.” (Obvious exception is for the sons and daughters of First Baptist Church).

c.  If you intend to apply for a church – get your stuff together. It doesn’t make any sense to apply for EVERY CHURCH that you find on the internet. God is not that schizophrenic that every church is for you. Be careful. Some churches are traditional and they want to stay there. Some churches are making transitions to new styles of worship. Some churches have no intention on joining this or that group. And, very importantly – learn how to put together a good resume before you send it off to a church. And for the love of the Lord, please learn how to spell and use english correctly. If I were advising a pulpit committee, if you misspelled “church” or “Jesus” or “resume” – you would be disqualified. If you offered a church a “vision package” that you have never seen before, never visited – you would be disqualified. One size does not fit all church.

d.  Pray. When I candidated for a church in Southern California, a dear friend of mine, Bishop Kenneth Spears, Sr. told me something I will never forget: “Rob, pray. He who prays the most . . .” And here I am, 17 years later giving the same advice – pray. Don’t pray “Lord, send me to this church.” No, that’s a selfish and self-motivated prayer. I believe a better prayer is “Lord, if it’s your will, and it will be a blessing to that body of believers, Lord, I am available to you.” I have discovered that pastoring is not about skill sets.

I candidated for a church once and it was between me and another minister. He did everything he could do to politically win the “election.” The problem was I was looking for a call, he was looking for an election. Big difference. He won the election. I accepted the Lord’s will in the matter and today, the Church is a shell of what she used to be – because of God’s ALLOWABLE WILL. Sometimes God does not send the best qualified nor the best equipped – sometimes He sends someone for His own reasons to enter the church into a rough season. Again, pray.

Because I did not win that election, God opened a door for me at Morris Cerullo World Evangelism in San Diego, California.
Because I did not win that election, God allowed me to candidate and then withdraw from the process in Central California at a wonderful congregation.
Because I did not win that election, God opened a door for me in Nashville, Tennessee.
Because I did not win that election, God opened a door for me in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Never go to a church because of an election. Go to a church because of the call of the Christ. He will make a way.

Again, I provide this service to be a blessing to the body of Christ. I try to keep the list as current as possible and I can tell you that most churches “settle in” for the winter and pulpit vacancies are few in the winter, but after the first of the year, after the holidays, Pulpit Committees get cranked up. I pray that you will submit yourself to his will in this process.

4 responses

  1. Appreciate your wise counsel! I pray that other preachers ‘check this out’! Love ya, Pastor, and keep on…keeping on!

  2. Pastor Houston, as one in this process for the past year, I would heartily endorse your counsel. Thank you for sharing this, as I am sure that those who heed this advice will benefit greatly. Blessings.

  3. […] Most Popular REH Blog Posts (non-funeral, vacant church related): 1.  Dear Angry Pastor 2.  How to Apply for a Church (Friendly Advice) 3.  The Ten Expository Preaching Commandments 4.  Ten Things Pastors Will Face in the Future 5. […]

  4. Rev. Norries A. Hood Sr. | Reply

    Good teaching pastor. I am a firm believer that there must be a call to ministry in order for there to be KINGDOM building.

    God bless you man.

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by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.

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