Ken Zacharias: Your Church is a Missionary Search Committee!

Credit: IStock

by Ken Zacharias, Foreign Secretary

Did you know that your local church is a Missionary Search Committee?

Pastoral search committee members often find the process to hire a pastor to be a difficult responsibility. It is a time of celebration when the local church has processed a candidate and has hired a pastor for their congregation.

EMC Missions does not form a search committee as we “search for and engage” missionaries. Yet, in a broader sense, we have sixty-four search committees, each one of the churches in our conference.

Churches are encouraged to actively search for potential missionaries in their congregation who have the spiritual character, witness, and preparation to serve cross-culturally.

But what might be improved is how intentionally some churches look for missionary candidates. Church mission committees should see that one of their primary responsibilities to be to look for missionary candidates within their congregation?

How does it work? Well, it works similarly to our Pastoral Search Committees. Each congregation looks for people who could effectively serve. The job description and position are advertised and the search committee begins to discern who is the right applicant for their local church.

Although churches may vary as to specific job descriptions, search committees are united in that the chosen candidate one who is strong in their spiritual character and Christian witness. This is the first requirement, stated or unstated, for all candidates. Standards are high! This requirement is the same for both pastor and missionary.

One mission agency says, “If you are not convinced that the (missionary) candidates exhibit the level of spiritual character that would qualify them to join your own church staff, then don’t recommend them for missions!”

EMC Missions is looking for gifted people with spiritual character to serve in one of more than twenty countries in which the EMC is ministering. The job descriptions vary, but include those who are qualified to serve in both ministerial and professional disciplines and who are gifted to serve, among others, in one of the following professions:

Church Planting
Teaching
Medical
Aviation
Radio/Media Business for Mission
Bible Translation
Community Outreach
Counseling

In 2018 the EMC Board of Missions is praying and discerning for a new destination point for EMC missionaries to enter under its full administration. With an emphasis in church planting, a four- to six-person team is being recruited. We are inviting each one of the 64 church search committees to ask who in your congregation is gifted to be a part of this new team.

The EMC has been blessed as a conference. Within our churches we have ministerial, professionals, and blue collar workers who love the Lord and who are gifted to serve.

Ken Zacharias

Ken Zacharias

Although most positions require a Bible college background, there are positions where this is not a necessity. For some mission opportunities, the candidate will need to work cross-culturally in a language and setting unfamiliar to them.

Search committee work is hard work, but it is rewarding when the church selects and engages both pastoral staff and its missionaries. A Missionary Search Committee can help us do this well.

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