When I took my first pastorate, which I am still currently serving, I had stars in my eyes and visions of grandeur. I envisioned filling the pews and having to put out chairs because of all the people that would be coming. I envisioned our student ministry taking off and our children’s department to do the same.
I believe the vast majority of Calvinists seek to be clear about their belief in Calvinism when interviewed by a pastoral search committee. I personally know some Calvinists who seek to make this very clear in the interview process. However, and quite unfortunately, that is not always the case.
A preacher of a previous generation once told me: “If you do not prepare your sermon and your own soul, nothing will come out but hot air.” If you do not deal with the text, God will not deal with your people. Preacher, get in the Word or get out of the pulpit.
Committees should investigate the candidate’s beliefs, point by point, without any hesitation to ask for clarification or to require a “yes or no” answer on any point. After all, your church is at stake, and no honest minister will be offended at your desire to know what he believes.
It could be easily assumed that in the process of searching for and calling a pastor, both the church and the prospective pastor desire a good match in matters of doctrine. This assumption has caused many regrettable mismatches and more than a few church splits. Many ministers do not offer information about personal doctrinal stances that may not be shared by the congregation considering them for the pastorate. One area in which a potential pastor may be less than forthcoming lies in the issue of Calvinism.