Nominating Committee – Ministry Models

picking+a+leader.jpgWhat words and phrases come to your mind when I say “Nominating Committee?”

Unfortunately, in some churches, the words would be “manipulation,” “never-ending,” “arm-twisting,” “status quo,” “gossip,” “power hungry,” “control,” “tiring,” etc.

But fortunately, in a growing number of churches, the words would be “refreshing,” “Spirit-led,” “empowering,” “thrilling,” “fun,” etc.

How can your church’s Nominating Committee process better reflect the Wonderful Jesus we serve and the exciting mission He has called us to rather than the devil who we have turned our backs on?

Here are 3 Ministry Models for Nominating Committee that I wish I had known when I was a young pastor wading through a tedious and nerve-grating process. Using these models I can truly say that our church looked forward to the process each year because it took only one day and was a chance to see God at work helping raise up new leadership and affirming continued leadership for our church in the coming church year. Each of these models is fully in harmony with the counsel we have in our Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual (Chapter 9). Make any changes to the process gently and kindly. It may take a few years to fully transition to this simplified (and joyful!) process. Feel free to use, adapt or discard these models in your ministry. Remember, a MODEL can Make Our Difficulties Easy & Light!

  1. Church Board Positions Only. We want EVERYONE in the church to serve Jesus and share Jesus! But doing this through our Nominating Committee would take forever! So our Nominating Committee only fills Church Board positions as listed in the Church Manual. Then the Church Board members are responsible for mentoring the entire congregation and mobilizing them in ministry and mission. At our first Church Board meeting of the new year each Church Board member/mentor recommends who  they would like to serve on their team during the new church year. For example our Head Deacon (who has had a chance to visit with deacons from the past church year and talk with others who might be added to the team) recommends any names for who will serve as Deacons during the new church year. This is discussed then voted on by the Church Board.
  2. Insist on 3+ Names for Each Position. If things are going well in a particular church position it is easy for the Nominating Committee to not really consider anyone except who is currently serving. But this can keep the person serving from being considered for another leadership role they might be better suited for and it can keep growing leaders from ever having a chance to lead. So for each position we went through these steps…
    • Collect Names (from a variety of sources, not just the committee).
    • Place all names for the position on the white board. Do not remove names or allow anyone on the committee to keep a name from being listed.
    • Do not stop listing names until you have at least three names for the position (5-7 names in larger churches). This will stretch the thinking of the committee but they will soon begin to see more potential leaders than they have before.
    • Identify each person on list. No speeches or discussion, pro or con, are permitted. You are not looking for reasons to take names off the list but to allow the best potential leaders to rise to the top of the list.
  3. Vote Secret Ballot Weighted Average for your top 3 choices. Secret ballot voting allows people to vote their conscience without fear of being misunderstood or intimidated. Voting a weighted average allows all on the committee to see the strength of the vote for each nominee and to sense God’s leading. Here are the steps we follow…
    • All names for a particular position are now on the white board (including the person who has served the current church year unless no one suggested their name). Each nominee has been identified but not discussed.
    • There is time for prayer that the Lord will lead in filling this position with the right person for the new church year.
    • Each committee member has a ballot. On the ballot they list their top three choices for the position and write “3” (points) beside their first choice, “2” (points) beside their second choice and “1” (point) beside their third choice. Explain that if only one name is listed on a ballot it will only receive 1 point so it is important to vote for three names and the appropriate points.
    • The Nominating Committee secretary picks someone to read each ballot and someone else to record the points beside each name as read. Everyone watches as points are added besides names. When all ballots are read it is easy to identify the first, second and third choice of the committee. If there is a tie then priority goes to the name nominated first.
    • Repeat the process for each Church Board position. You will ultimately have a first, second and third choice for each Church Board position.
    • Identify which committee members will contact the people for each position. But before anyone is contacted the nominee’s name must be confidentially cleared by the Clerk (confirm membership locally and that there are no ministry restrictions) and Treasury (confirm regular giving to Tithe and Local Church Budget) or their name is removed before being contacted.*
    • Calls are made to the first qualified person in each position. If they decline then the second qualified person is called, etc. Within two weeks all positions are generally filled and a first and second reading and vote are taken by the entire congregation.

Here are some forms we have used in the process that can be easily adapted to your situation. Use only those you find helpful.

Inspired Insights on Nominating Committee (Selection of Spiritual Leadership)

The quotations below come from Testimonies for the Church, volume 9, page 262-265.

  1. “God would have His people an understanding people. He has so arranged matters that chosen men shall go as delegates to our conferences. These men are to be tried and proved. They are to be trustworthy men. The choosing of delegates to attend our conferences is an important matter. These men are to lay the plans that shall be followed in the advancement of the work; and therefore they are to be men of understanding, able to reason from cause to effect. {9T 262.1}
  2. “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father-in-law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God: when they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and His laws. And Moses’ father-in-law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: and thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: and let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. {9T 262.2}
  3. “If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. {9T 263.1}
  4. “So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.” Exodus 18:13-26. {9T 263.
  5. In the first chapter of Acts, also, instruction is given regarding the choosing of men to bear responsibilities in the church. The apostasy of Judas had left one place vacant in the ranks of the apostles, and it was necessary that another be chosen to take this place. Speaking of this, Peter said: {9T 263.3}
  6. “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two Thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:21-26. {9T 263.4}
  7. From these scriptures we learn that the Lord has certain men to fill certain positions. God will teach His people to move carefully and to make wise choice of men who will not betray sacred trusts. If in Christ’s day the believers needed to be guarded in their choice of men for positions of responsibility, we who are living in this time certainly need to move with great discretion. We are to present every case before God and in earnest prayer ask Him to choose for us. {9T 264.1}
  8. The Lord God of heaven has chosen experienced men to bear responsibilities in His cause. These men are to have special influence. If all are accorded the power given to these chosen men, a halt will have to be called. Those who are chosen to bear burdens in the work of God are not to be rash or self-confident or selfish. Never is their example or influence to strengthen evil. The Lord has not given men or women liberty to advance ideas that will bring commonness into His work, removing the sacredness that should ever surround it. God’s work is to become increasingly sacred to His people. In every way we are to magnify the exalted character of the truth. Those who have been set as guardians of the work of God in our institutions are ever to make the will and way of God prominent. The health of the general work depends upon the faithfulness of the men appointed to carry out the will of God in the churches. {9T 264.2}
  9. Men must be placed in charge who will obtain an enlarged experience, not in the things of self, but in the things of God, an enlarged knowledge of the character of Christ. The more they know of Christ, the more faithfully they represent Him to the world. They are to listen to His voice and give heed to His words. {9T 265.1}

* See Church Manual (2015 Edition) page 72, 75, 137, 138.

Future Topics

The topics for our Ministry Models teleconference listed below will rotate between these general categories – Personal/Family, Soul Winning and Pastoring. We will post notes for each topic/teleconference.


  • September – Time Management
  • October – Increasing Your Baptisms
  • November – Planning Your Church Calendar
  • December – Goal Setting & Accomplishment


  • January – Baptism Preparation
  • February – Nominating Committee
  • March – Family Time
  • April – Finding Interests
  • May – Church Board Meetings
  • June – New District – Starting Well
  • July – New Member Orientation
  • August – Mobilizing Members in Ministry

Please join us by phone (whether walking, driving, eating or studying) and let’s see what the Lord does to help us each succeed in our daily walk with Him, all our relationships including our families, and in our ministry and mission. Topic – Nominating Committee. Wednesday February 1, 2017 at 1pm Central Time. Call 515-604-9000; Access Code 540330.

This article was published in Elders Digest July-September 2020 p. 4-5


About danserns

Happily married and father of three great kids. Seventh-day Adventist pastor who invites everyone to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, embrace all the teachings of the Bible and join a vibrant Adventist group.
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5 Responses to Nominating Committee – Ministry Models

  1. Pingback: Church Board Meetings – Ministry Models | Dan Serns

  2. Pingback: Mobilizing Members in Ministry – Ministry Models | Dan Serns

  3. Donna says:

    I believe all churches should allow any Member to volunteer for a committee by filling out a form that lists their spiritual gifts and strengths. Churches who have Nominating Committees who do it in secrecy can not be trusted as to what their true motives are. If a Nominating Commitee doesn’t trust its own Members to volunteer and be a part of a committee then the Church has failed it’s own congregation. Secrecy voting does not grow a church, instead causes distrust, possible underlying corrupt motives. People want transparency. People deserve fairness or we have failed God.

    • danserns says:

      It’s true that every believer is needed in God’s work! The role of the Church Board is to mobilize every believer in the mission. And the role of the nominating committee is to nominate the church board to the church family in a clean, transparent and representative way. When this is done, the church family can stay focused on the mission. This is the priesthood of all believers!

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