Breaking down the pastor search process with Ronny Marriott, Mark Dance

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Breaking down the pastor search process: Insight from Ronny Marriott, Mark Dance, and Mark Turman

February 13, 2024 -

A pointer finder touches the magnifying glass on a search bar, an illustration of the pastor search process. By /

A pointer finder touches the magnifying glass on a search bar, an illustration of the pastor search process. By /

A pointer finder touches the magnifying glass on a search bar, an illustration of the pastor search process. By /

Ronny Marriott and Mark Dance join Denison Forum Executive Director Dr. Mark Turman to discuss the pastor search committee process.

They share their experiences and insights on

  • pastor attrition,
  • the biblical basis of the search committee process,
  • signs of healthy and unhealthy committees,
  • the role of the spouse in the search process,
  • and the importance of discussing salary and benefits.

They also emphasize the need for financial literacy for both pastors and search teams.

They discuss various financial responsibilities and challenges that pastors face, including ministers’ taxes and the need for financial expertise. And they explore the role of search firms in pastoral placement and the importance of discerning when it may be time to search for a new church to pastor.

The conversation emphasizes the need for pastors to seek help and resources in navigating these financial and vocational decisions.

Resources from Mark Dance

GuideStone’s Ministerial Resources page has 8 new financial literacy videos that are less than 5 minutes long. Also on this page is a compensation planning guide, tax guide, compensation study, and other compensation planning resources:


  • Pastor attrition is not as high as often rumored, but there is a need for more pastors due to aging pastors and fewer people being called to ministry.
  • The pastor search committee process is not explicitly biblical, but it can be supported by biblical principles.
  • Signs of a healthy committee include asking thoughtful questions, being respectful and gracious, involving the spouse in the process, and considering the holistic needs of the pastor and their family.
  • Unhealthy committees may exhibit disunity, focus on numbers rather than biblical principles, or lack a thorough vetting process.
  • Candidates should do their own homework by researching the community, talking to other pastors, and asking questions about leadership and quality of life.
  • The spouse plays a crucial role in the search process, and their needs and expectations should be considered.
  • The conversation about salary and benefits should be brought up early in the process to ensure alignment and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Financial literacy is important for both pastors and search teams, and resources like GuideStone can provide guidance and support. Pastors should seek financial expertise and resources to navigate ministers’ taxes and other financial responsibilities.
  • Search firms can be helpful in facilitating pastoral placement, but pastors and search committees should set boundaries and approach the process with prayer and discernment.
  • When pastors feel led to search for a new church to pastor, they should seek guidance from trusted friends and leaders, and approach the process with humility and prayer.
  • It is important for pastors to discern when their ministry in a church is coming to an end and to seek the Lord’s guidance for the next step.


00:00 Introduction and Background

04:23 Pastor Attrition and Crisis of Available Pastors

08:31 Is the Pastor Search Committee Process Biblical?

10:20 The Process of Dealing with a Pastor Search Committee

18:31 Signs of Healthy and Unhealthy Committees

24:42 The Role of the Spouse in the Search Process

31:03 Importance of Salary and Benefits Discussion

46:28 Financial Literacy for Pastors and Search Teams

46:57 Ministers Taxes and Financial Responsibilities

50:00 Role of Search Firms in Pastoral Placement

55:10 Intentionally Searching for a New Church to Pastor

59:26 Discerning the End of Ministry in a Church

01:00:21 Closing Remarks and Call to Action

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