Pastoral Searches Paused Due to COVID-19

CHICAGO, IL (March 30, 2020) – The COVID-19 crisis has led many churches to pause their search processes to fill positions.

Whether a church stops its search or proceeds depends largely on where it is in the process. Congregations close to choosing a candidate face the biggest challenge. “They are like airplanes approaching landing but need to be diverted,” said Howard Burgoyne, superintendent of the East Coast Conference.

At least one church in that conference was unsure whether they could engage in final negotiations with a candidate online. Another that was about to begin in-person interviews put their process on hold. First Covenant Church in Portland, Ore., had to cancel a candidating weekend days before the scheduled event.

Burgoyne recently used Zoom to conduct his first fully online orientation for a search committee.

Churches that are early in the process are still in the vetting stage, which can happen online. Northwest Covenant Church in Mt. Prospect, Ill., decided to continue their search for a pastor of outreach because they were just posting the position.

Leaders expect the crisis to decrease church income, so some churches are reconsidering whether they will be able to fill currently open positions.

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About the Author

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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1 Comment

  1. We are in the search process right now. I’m not on the search committee but I know they are contemplating whether to keep going full speed or slow down. I just keep praying that they will clearly hear God’s voice leading them. God’s got it! He knows what we need, who we need, when we need it.

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