Posted: January 17, 2014 at 2:18 a.m.

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: Our pastor recently retired after almost 25 years, and I’ve been placed on the committee to search for a new one. What kind of person do you think we ought to look for? Must it be someone just like our old pastor (which is what some people want)?

  • N.H.

DEAR N.H.: Some people would probably be very comfortable with someone who reminds them of their former pastor, but that shouldn’t be your main criterion. God may even want someone with a different personality or with different abilities from your old pastor, and you should be open to this.

The most important thing your committee and your congregation should be doing, however, is to prayerfully seek God’s will and God’s wisdom in this matter. God knows your needs and wants to guide you to the person He has already prepared for this responsibility. It’s not too soon to be praying also that your congregation will welcome and support and encourage your new pastor. The Bible says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you … so that their work will be a joy, not a burden” (Hebrews 13:7, 17).

What qualities should you seek in a pastor? First, your pastor should have a strong commitment to Christ, and a definite sense of God’s calling to be a pastor. Then your pastor should be a person of integrity and honesty. A pastor’s life also should be marked by prayer, faith, compassion and love. Your pastor should be a person of vision, as well, seeking to strengthen believers and reach the lost for Christ.

No pastor will be perfect (just as your congregation isn’t perfect), but pray that your new pastor will “Preach the word … correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Write to Billy Graham in care of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C. 28201 or visit the website at billygraham.org

MovieStyle, Pages 38 on 01/17/2014