Search Committee Covenant

The following is a template of a “Search Committee Covenant”—outlining the responsibilities and expectations of those who agree to serve on the Search Committee. Committee members are asked to read, pray over, and sign their names in agreement to the covenant. This level of formality, though uncommon for many endeavors of the church, places appropriate weight on the seriousness of this commitment, and ensures that Committee members understand the depth and breadth of the commission they have been given.


I, ____________________________, having been asked by the shepherds of the [church name] to serve on a Senior Minister Search Committee, agree to do so to the best of my ability and in a manner that is pleasing to Christ.

I recognize that this invitation implies a great deal of trust by the elders in me personally and conveys a great deal of responsibility as well. Others could have been invited in my place. In accepting this role, I affirm that the elders’ trust in me is not misplaced, that I take this great responsibility seriously, and that I will make my work on this search committee a priority in my prayers, time, energies, and efforts.

This commitment means (in part) that:

  1. I will devote myself to daily prayer on behalf of the church, this committee, and the candidates to whom God will lead us. I will also pray daily for myself in this role: that God would give me his heart and mind, show me his will, and help me conduct myself in a manner that is worthy of him.
  2. I will regard my service on the Search Committee as a spiritual endeavor, expecting to grow deeper in the Lord personally as a result and committing myself to being conscious of and encouraging the spiritual well-being and growth of all those who are affected by this process: fellow committee members, the church, and the candidates to whom we talk.
  3. I accept the idea that I am (and this committee is) an instrument of God as he pursues his will for the [church name]. It is his will that we seek, his chosen minister we want to find, his call for leadership we want to hear. I believe God “calls” people not just to ministry generally but to specific times and situations. I am committed to being sensitive to his calling as I serve on this Committee.
  4. I am dedicated to the unity and harmony of our church generally and of this Search Committee specifically. I will do all in my power to promote unity and avoid all speech and behavior that might promote factions or gossip.
  5. I submit to the leadership of the one who serves as the Chairman of this Committee. I recognize that, in asking him to fill this role, the shepherds of our church have expressed their own high regard for his character and competence. I will respect his role and trust his judgment. I will do all in my power (in word and deed) to support his leadership and ease his difficult work.
  6. I recognize and accept the importance of “communal discernment” in processes such as this. While I may (and should) have opinions and convictions about certain matters, I will defer to the Committee as a whole and honor the Committee’s collective wisdom above my own. I will not stubbornly insist on my own views but will trust God to speak through the people who serve on this committee with me.
  7. In a related way, I recognize the necessary tension between honest and open dissent and the need to honor others above myself. I will feel free to express my views and opinions (and even to express them forcefully) in the context of this Committee’s deliberations. But I will do so within the context of my commitment to the unity and harmony of the Committee as a whole and the spiritual well-being of the others who serve on it.
  8. I recognize the necessity of a confidential process and promise to say or do nothing that threatens the integrity of our work or in any way compromises the people or topics we discuss in the committee. I will do all in my power to guard my tongue and protect the privacy of our discussions.
  9. I understand that this is not a short term commitment, easily fulfilled and quickly finished. Rather, this commitment could extend for months.
  10. I recognize the importance of my full and consistent participation in the workings of this Committee. I commit myself to being at every meeting of the Committee, barring illness or uncontrolled circumstances. These meetings will be a priority to me. When assigned tasks by the Committee, I will accomplish those tasks in a timely and effective way so that the Committee as a whole can proceed with its important work. When it comes time to review resumes, listen to sermons, conduct phone or video conferences, and otherwise interact with candidates, I will—to the best of my ability—participate fully in these important tasks.
  11. During meetings, while I will feel free to voice my views and contribute my opinions, I will also keep in mind that the committee is a large one, other views need to be heard, and time is limited. I will respect the other members of the Committee by speaking succinctly and giving other Committee members a chance to make their contributions to the dialogue as well.
  12. I will be a faithful “ambassador” of the Committee to the congregation and candidates, careful not to speak for the Committee, but willing to carry messages (decided on and approved by the committee as a whole) to those members of the church and those candidates with whom I have personal interaction. Because of my commitment to confidentiality, I will not speak simply to satisfy the curiosity of others. But because of my commitment to communication, I will communicate clearly and enthusiastically whatever information the Committee has decided to disseminate.

In signing below, I am committing to this Search Committee for a period of 6 months.  I will work to the best of my ability to fulfill the covenant items mentioned above for this period of time, barring matters beyond my control (such as serious illness).  I recognize that the search process may take longer than 6 months, and if so, after prayerful consideration, I will decide at that time whether to sign another covenant to continue onward.


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