Other churches depend on elders to find the next pastor.But a large number of churches today still use the pastor search committee process to find their next pastor.And unfortunately there are sometimes circumstances that are so dire that the quickest departure that is possible is needed. Let me also say that this is with regard to the public announcement before the whole congregation.The lay-leadership (like Elders and Deacons) might be told further in advance-- and probably should be in most cases.Even though this process is in use in as many as 200,000 congregations in the U.S., there still seems to be a mystery about its work and decision-making processes. The commenter expressed concern about becoming a "lame duck" if he announced it too far in advance. This is a great question, and an important thing to consider.
Some congregations belong to a denomination that uses an appointment process.Still, there may be things that will take time to properly hand off and/or delegate to those who will handle them in the interim (especially in larger congregations). This gives ample time, in most cases, to say goodbye and to make good preparations for the ministry hand-off.There will be time for the congregation to begin the process of searching for a new pastor in earnest, but not so much that the outgoing pastor will be around to make things awkward. In the case of a pastor who will be retiring after many years of service, that announcement might be made six months ahead (or even more) without impropriety.There are often great inconsistencies from one committee to another.Perhaps the primary reason for the apparent mystery of search committees is their own evolution.Some new pastors wish to change everything as soon as they arrive. No one can provide a proven strategy, guaranteed to work with every pastor and church match-up (tweet this).Each process needs to be customized by how the Spirit of God is leading that particular transition.If his congregation, lay-leaders, or fellow staff have the impression that he does not have the "right" to function in that office, he cannot effectively function in that office.The commenter also stated his desire to allow the congregation and leaders to begin moving toward finding a replacement.This will help you and the congregation maintain spiritual health.Some churches want no change, regardless of what they told you during the candidating process.