[firstchapter: What to do before you look for the Pastoral Candidate]
There are important steps to take before you ever look for the first possible candidate. Each church has its own distinct history, and on the basis of what is in that particular history, the people in charge need to take certain extra steps, for example, if the last pastor was good but died, the pastor was bad and morally damaged the church leaving by being expulsed, the pastor was milk-toast and didn’t advance the church’s ministry or edified the people, etc., but basically in any situation you need to go through this process just the same. The first thing you as a church must do is to resolve the question of what are we, and how do we function.
To me as a pastor, one of the most important things is 1) make sure you are biblical, 2) make sure what comes after you IS BIBLICAL! This is difficult at every turn. To be biblical means to constantly examine and re-examine everything you do, your motives, your understanding of Scripture, you gospel warrant to do what you do, how you do it, your methodology, etc. Upon all of that, you add a little bit of pragmatism. Hear me out. “Our plans” are supposed to be to produce the desired result, but after all is said and done, take a step back and see if what you thought were biblical goals really produce these goals. If not, start over from scratch.
In finding the next pastor, you need to find somebody that is already “on board” with your church’s goals. You should not have to convince this person of the biblical nature of your church’s goals, but he should already be pretty close to that. When a new man “comes onboard” you are turning the reins over to him, and you need that confidence that he will direct the church basically in the same direction as it was going. Typically churches go through the search period for a long time, years, and then they get fed up, and just grab somebody. This is really bad. Usually it ends up with the church people leaving the work, new people coming in and taking over the work, and usually, there are a couple of pastor change-outs before things settle down IF EVER THEY DO.
[chapter:1. Prayer, Prayer, Prayer]
This process will not work out to the glory of God and the real resolving problems unless it is saturated in prayer. Prayer is not to get God to quickly resolve this problem but to find and fulfill “MY PART” in the resolution of this process. It is extremely sad to see so many pulpit committees take the attitude of “we need a quick fix here”, so they typically 1) pick someone in haste to repent for many long years (eventually their error destroys the church, all the good people that formed the church leave, and if it continues to exist, new people who tolerate false prophets have to be found and brought in. 2) the Pulpit Committee delegates the whole process to somebody else outside the church, like a person in a Bible College, and they “are handed” a ready-made pastor, and the consequences mentioned in number 1 happen. 3) the Pulpit Committee falls into an auto-destruct mode, where they simply will not work with each other, or they totally or mostly ignore anything anybody else in the church has to say, and even without any pastor in sight, the church begins a disintegration, and most of the solid members leave, wolf worshippers enter new into the church to take over the process, and in general, things are a disaster.
Prayer should be something that the pulpit committee should do individually and in the group, the candidates should do individually, and when a potential candidate visits the church, there should be prayer time dedicated for the candidate to pray with the pulpit committee and with the church leaders and principle laymen. If you don’t have time for praying over the matter, just pick the devil for your next pastor and be done with it. Otherwise, consider that many long hours in prayer is an essential part of the process.
We should also acknowledge here that God’s will is normally a process of revelation over time, and the selection of the next pastor most probably should not be quick. It needs prayer and time. At the same time, if a candidate is not currently pastoring in a church somewhere or working, you need to understand his situation that he has to support his family somehow and be aware that on the opposite of taking a lot of time to pray, there is the pressure of his immediate economic needs. If you find a really good man, but cannot decide, talk with him and possibly send him a minimum salary for a few weeks while you are deciding to “hold” his interest and help him until he gets the position or you definitely say no.
[chapter:2. Formation and Composition of a Pulpit Committee]
One of the first and most basic steps is for the church to form a Pulpit Committee. Here the whole ball game is won or lost by who is on this pulpit committee. As a first requirement, I would automatically rule out all women. This is because the Bible prohibits women from being in a position of authority over men (see pastor qualification of masculine for the basis of this principle), and the pulpit committee is exactly that.
Secondly, you should understand that there are sometimes some very highly visible “Bible experts” in the church which are very opinionated and in themselves hold a questionable testimony because of their personality. If they don’t get along with most of the people, and they are not qualified to be a pastor or deacon themselves, then they shouldn’t be on the pulpit committee.
If they are contentious for example, they will derail and destroy the process and ruin the church. These kinds of people should not be on the pulpit committee. It takes a strong lay leader to keep them off, and that is difficult to do. There is a tendency in this situation that people think, “Our church is a ship without anyone at the helm, so better to jump overboard while you can.” This attitude must be fought against by the Pulpit Committee, and the two strongest elements to drive this feeling away is the fact that the Pulpit Committee is made up of good godly men, and that they are committed to finding the next pastor without doing stupid things in the process, nor giving up and quitting nor just grabbing anybody that comes along to finish their task so they can leave the church and find some other “working church”.
The process of pastor selection and interviewing possible candidates is not the place for debate and arguing doctrinal positions among the members of the pulpit committee. The Pulpit Committee needs to have a good understanding of the doctrinal positions the church has and the particular priorities they will be looking for. If a fellow cannot defer speaking to others and defer expressing his opinion for the sake of unity and progress, he has no business in any leadership position in a church, and the pulpit committee is exactly where HE SHOULD NOT BE. It should be highly stressed that anyone, or any group, and all of the Pulpit Committee are representatives of the church, and you want to put your best foot forward. People who are not too friendly or understanding should not be on the Pulpit Committee, because it will simply drive off a good man, cause conflict and confusion in the process, and derail the process from coming to any good end.
Thirdly you should not pass over “normal church members” just because they are not ministers in themselves. This is who you will probably end up with. I would also not pass over ministers of music, assistant pastors, deacons, Sunday School teachers, etc. as long as they understand that they members participating, and not running the Pulpit Committee (unless the committee places them in a spokesman position). If there are deacons, they will probably be on the pulpit committee. It should be clearly understood, and it should be a principle clearly practiced by everyone on the pulpit committee that this is not “my church”, but “our church”, and their position and charge is to find the best man which is God’s will for the church and not to impose their own will in the matter. Each member of the Pulpit Committee should have the attitude that they have a charge from the congregation to discharge, and their own personal views are important, but none of them will make the final decision, rather they will jointly recommend the best man to the congregation.
Fourthly, there should be clear and written down rules for the Pulpit Committee to follow as to the procedure for interviewing and considering the candidates, as well as who and how will be invited to come to preach. There should be a designated person on the Committee (spokesman) who does all contacts with the candidates, and he should only communicate explicitly what the Committee decides and tells him to communicate to the candidate. He should also be THE ONLY ONE making public informative statements to the church. There should be rules for deciding who is invited, and who is not invited. These rules should be followed especially when the candidate is a personal friend or relative of a church member. That should not be a consideration for exempting somebody from the rules. The most important issue is how will the final decision be made. Will it need a majority vote of the Pulpit Committee or a 100% vote? Will the Pulpit Committee vote on one or more men and present them for a congregational vote, or will the Pulpit Committee make the final decision?
I would personally suggest some rules:
The Pulpit Committee will be the ones who…
- make contacts with the candidates, and set up all invitations for them to come
- filter out the unfit candidates (they are not presented to the church).
- invite the best of the good candidates to come preach.
- invite for a second preaching time any highly probable candidate.
- vote by majority on the best candidate(s) (after a reasonable amount of time and candidates considered)
- present one or more possible candidates for a final vote by the church.
I would also make it very clear that any member that would know of a potential candidate for the pastorate please contact the Pulpit Committee before contacting that pastoral prospect. The church needs to be instructed to help, pray, and give potential contact information to the Pulpit Committee, but that anybody that doesn’t go through the process of the Pulpit Committee, will not be presented to the church at all. All offers to preach or any other contact should be directly with the Pulpit Committee doing the inviting and not through the membership (unofficially).
[chapter:3. What are we?]
By this question I mean to say define very clearly for everyone in the church what are the morals, standards, doctrines, and practices of the church. Here be very careful. You should not assume whatever the last pastor was is what the church is. Try to rally the church membership around these norms and practices. Personally, I would highly exhort that you do not include (conscientiously exclude) any temporal bondings, i.e. (we are an “xyz Christian College” church, or we are a (insert some denominational affiliation) or “we are Reformed, Calvinist, Hyles, or KJV church”). If the church has standards and doctrines, then that should be clarified among the membership with the historical majority position being the position of the church. Being affiliated with a certain group doesn’t give you a biblical character, but the doctrines you believe and the practices you hold as norms do. That position should already be clear among the membership.
I would also highly advise against making radical movements from your past historical position. If the present leadership of church sees it prudent and necessary to clarify or change some past position, let them take the weeks before any pastoral candidate comes to speak as teaching times to establish what is biblical in their eyes. In general, this time of transition is probably the best time to make such a change, and it is the most dangerous time for wolves or false teachers to insert themselves in the process and direct the church into false doctrine. Be very careful here. The unity of the church people is very fragile at this point in their history, and unthinking influential people often destroy the church at this juncture.
Most probably your searching will be among a certain group of ministers, but it is highly deceptive to believe that a Baptist church that finds a good Baptist minister will have everything turn out right. Most false prophets run in these affiliations, and you have to go deeper and more intensely than just somebody who ascribing your favorite label to be a good man. For example, some churches are KJV only churches, and by asking if the candidate is KJV only, they automatically qualify him as “good.” There are a lot of people who use these terms freely just to get into a church (but in reality don’t have any idea what they really mean, nor really are of that position), and churches and especially pulpit committees should not be naive in thinking that some label will assure them of a good next pastor. Don’t believe everything these people tell you, but check them out. The key here is to investigate that the candidate really practiced and taught whatever term that you are dealing with. Put 10% importance on what he says he is, and 90% on what he has taught all his life.
Always remember: The honest people will tell you the truth, and the dishonest people will tell you what you want to hear, not necessarily what they really believe or practice.
The point of knowing “what we are” is so that when the pulpit committee finds a candidate that fits what they are looking for, they can with confidence offer him the ministry in their church. Sometimes a pulpit committee doesn’t have that concept of “what we are” very firmly in their minds, or they among themselves are divided, and they offer the ministry to a candidate only to have him leave in a year because things were not as you told him they were.
Church Group Participation. Let me just say a word about this. First of all, we all want “all the members of the church to participate” in the process. Having said that, let me explain that this is not really true. In any given church at any given time, there are people in a state of flux, new believers, people who were of other doctrinal groups and have joined your church, and even people trying to re-establish their testimony after falling into sin. Although outwardly we do say “everybody should participate”, we should understand that people who are drastically of a different denominational history should not take this “invitation” to participate as an invitation to move the church into their old group. Equally so with people who are drastically of a different doctrinal persuasion what the historical past position of the church has been as far as doctrine.
[chapter:4. How do we run our church?]
One of the most important things that every good pastor should be highly interested in is how your church is run. By this, I mean that it should be very clearly and openly stated how your church functions as to major decisions (deacons recommend to pastor and he decides, pastor recommends to deacons and they decide, the pastor and deacons recommend to the whole congregation and a general vote decides, or just chaos or a mixture of one of the above and chaos). One of the elements of this is who has the final “say so” in church matters. What is the job description of the pastor, and where are the checks and balances.
By checks and balances, I mean what and how is a pastor that loses his testimony or goes berserk will be removed from his office when he refuses or delays his resignation. This should be by the majority of the deacons upon being firmly established with witnesses or confession by the pastor, and the breach of rules of conduct that would cause this should be clear.
I am including one of my tracts “Ap1: Destitution of Pastor” which will present guidelines for destituting or removing a sitting pastor. Be very wise here, before anybody enters the church, make extremely clear what the pastor’s responsibilities are, what his salary is (and what is out of bounds for him to grab and spend), and when, how, and why he will be removed (what he must observe to keep from being destituted). This is just pure safety considers that no church should be without. If you are presently an acting pastor reading this, consider it extremely wise to institute (calmly with much study) these principles in your church structure, and make it part of your church’s thinking while you are pastor.
[chapter:5. How much are we going to pay our pastor?]
One of the key points of getting a good man of God is to offer him what is attractive to him. Unfortunately (or fortunately because God has designed this situation), the good man of God will not be overly concerned with his personal income in the ministry. While it is not given to him by God to “fleece the sheep”, it is given to the sheep to support their pastor. This situation means that you as the Pulpit Committee need to be very aware of the issue, and you need to be generous with your pastor’s salary. Let me also caution, do not offer the compensation package you are offering him up front. In your discussions with him, you should bring it out, but you should see how concerned he is about the money issue, because it speaks to his humility and submission to God or his quality of being a wolf!
In general, you as a church should be paying your pastor around the average income of your key tithing members. It is ridiculous that a goodly number of the members live in an economic status way above the pastor. Tithing is an issue that the church members should be doing in order to support their church work in their community.
See tract: David Cox ch23 Paying the Pastor
When you call a new pastor, you should consider his needs during this “move” into your church. It is customary in businesses that call an employee or supervisor to move to a new area, that the business pays them a “moving allowance” which basically should cover the movers, and help them set up in their new locality. Churches should be better than this. There should be help, money, and a good consideration of the expenses involved, and the church should give more than the bare necessities.
Extras in recompense.
As a church, you should be aware that a good minister is hard to find, and if you are so favored by God as to have such a man, and over a short period of time, his teaching, preaching, counseling, evangelism, and prayer qualities all attest to the fact that he is a good man of God, then you should consider doing extra for him. In our modern world, money is not all that a person needs to be stable. Part of the church’s responsibility here is to make the life of their pastor as stable and comfortable as they can. Health insurance, housing allowance, gas expense, book-library expenses, and other particular expenses of the ministry need to be considered. Although it is not absolutely necessary for the church to give these things, it is a grand gesture of love and devotion towards their pastor when they do give extra to him. This is most importantly seen when after the first or second year of ministry if he does an excellent job at pastoring, the church responds in kind.
See my tract David Cox – ch18 Supporting your Pastor
[chapter:6. What’s the Pastor’s Job?]
What are the duties, responsabilities, rights, and obligations of the Pastor?
One of the best ways to condemn any new experience between a new pastor and a church is to leave the Pastor’s duties undefined. Doing this basically tells the incoming pastor that anything that he feels like doing is fine with the people. Don’t get me wrong, being a pastor, the pastor needs to have a goodly amount of liberty to do his job. He will be in charge of the spiritual life and growth of this church, and his vision and talents come to bear in exactly how the church’s ministry and spiritual welfare will be defined in the future.
So to be concise, you need to tell the pastor exactly what you as a church expect out of him. This is what is called a “Job Description” in secular businesses. You tell him what his duties are, what you expect of him, and where his liberties extend to, and where they end. If you do this as a church before the pastor enters, and as a condition of his being accepted, he agrees to this, then you will have a more formal relationship with him, where he knows what is expected of him, and he knows where he crosses the lines of his authority.
Even though this greatly facilitates the pastor’s organization of his own ministry in the church, it is not really all that good unless you can scripturally tie down these responsibilities with scriptural principles anchored in the exposition of Bible texts. A pastor (or a preacher which is a good expositor) needs to be the one who does this, but none-the-less, something should be formal.
The point in this declaration and agreement before entering the church’s ministry is to foresee when a pastor (or any minister) needs to be removed. The elements of this agreement should be stated before entry, and therefore would be a valid basis for formal removal by the church if the minister does not fulfill his duties or retain his testimony. Not only is this good common sense, but it also allows both the church and the pastor to understand what is expected, and what will happen when the pastor does not fulfill his duties.
Informally considered (without really making an appeal to Scripture), a pastor’s primary obligation is to preach and teach the Word of God and oversee and do the ministry of spiritual edification. “Spiritual feeding” is his first and foremost responsibility. Here, you should clearly outline the fundamentals of the faith as the church sees and holds them, and these should be explicitly stated in a doctrinal statement which should be public, and to which the pastor should accept or explain any variances. Such things as speaking in tongues, miracles, what Bible version he will use in his ministry in the church, a good position on women or divorced people preaching to men, the conditions and service of the Lord’s table (to all, to only the church, to the church except to those under discipline, or to only those in the church who are registered members, etc.), the necessity of being formally ordained before he enters, the policy of inviting outside preachers into the church, the church’s formal and informal relationship with associations, denominations, fellowships, etc.
The doctrinal stance of the pastor is very important, and he should declare his position on key points of doctrine and practice before being accepted, and this declaration should be compared regularly with his ministry, and he and the church elders should talk over any changes which he makes in his basic positions over time.
There should be a very clear declaration of the requirements of a person in any influential leadership position in the church, i.e. pastor, assistant pastor, teacher, deacon, administrative staff, choir, etc. These requirements should explicitly state that a requirement for active participation in the church ministry is to refrain from unbiblical sexual conduct, refrain from use of intoxicants such as alcohol, drugs, etc., and that the person should be a good example of Christ in all aspects of their life, otherwise they should refuse to enter such ministry or when they no longer fulfill the requirements, they should step down from any ministry.
Another point of concern is to define the pastor’s wife’s responsibilities in relation to her husband’s ministry, and the church in general. Is she to be in charge of the women’s group, the missionaries, the benevolence fund activities, etc. If the responsibilities of janitor are to be thrust upon her, she and the pastor should know this from the beginning (and she should be paid a salary as if anyone else in the church or out of the church was to be asked to do these duties).
Basically anytime the elders or other groups of the church make any decision or take any action, these things should be defined as being under the pastor’s general watchcare, being a specific duty for the pastor to do, or being something the pastor can do or legitimately delegate to others, or something the pastor has no say so or involvement in them. For example, the excursions of the adult Sunday School classes, the get-togethers of the teens and youth department, etc., all should be clearly stated as far as who is responsible for making decisions involving them, and how much and how the pastor is involved in these things. In general, they should be stated, and then the pastor has “general watchcare oversight” meaning he can get involved in them, but he is not obliged to actually teach, organize, and do everything himself.
In the case of the pulpit ministry, the church should specifically give the pastor a yearly vacation, and other than that, he is responsible for preaching except for a very limited number of invited speakers which he may invite at his discretion. Revivals, Daily Vacation Bible School, evangelism efforts, and any other such activities should be considered, giving the pastor some guidelines as to what the church expects of him, and detailing his obligations and liberties involved in these things.
The pastor should also be involved in evangelism and church growth, therefore his responsibilities as far as actually organizing and going out to visit people should be generally outlined. The church may not necessarily detail everything the pastor should be doing in these things, but make a general directive that the church is to have an active local evangelization push (as well as a missions program), and the pastor must be actively involved in these. Wednesday prayer meeting should also be mentioned as part of his duties.
Visiting the sick, the erring, and the wayward should also be a regular part of his duties.
Prayer intercession for the church and their particular members should be a regular duty of the pastor.
Anything the church thinks that their pastor should do should be mentioned in this job description. Health problems and considerations should also be mentioned as far as when he is not able to fulfill any of these duties. It should be very keenly noted by the pulpit committee that the candidate’s past ministerial activity is a good gauge or reliable predictor of what his spiritual interests are, and therefore what he did before is what he will most probably continue doing, unless he specifically states that he no longer wants to continue in that line of ministry but wants to take a new line of ministry. Here, some minister who worked in social efforts, or with youth, or with music may be an excellent assistant pastor working in that particular area, but as head pastor of a church, he may neglect the principal duties of a pastor to concentrate on youth work, on music, etc. Your church will have great music, the rest of the church will slowly die.
Even though this is a very important factor which is generally true, you must understand that many young people who get involved in the ministry many times make a ministry line decision in the early 20s or even their teens, and follow that through. This is the plight of many youth pastors that were great youth pastors when they were 20 to 30, but pushing 50, that just is not any longer what they are best suited for, and they want to get into something else. Also, I have seen young men who are very balanced and very keen in Bible study which join a church’s staff as a youth pastor or children’s pastor, and they very quickly see that this is not best for them. They want serious Bible teaching and preaching in their ministry, and they seek to move from what they were doing into what they love more (teaching/preaching). These kinds of people need to be clearly identified, and in their case, there is nothing wrong with them taking the senior pastorate of a church. It is the “next logical ministry step” for them, and their former ministries should not be considered a deterrent from entering the pastorate.
I have several tracts that I have written on the Biblical Duties of a Pastor, and these should be studied by the church first, and then given to any pastoral candidate.
[chapter:7. What are we going to tell the candidates?]
There needs to be a very clear understanding of what the pulpit committee is going to tell the candidates. First of all, we need to understand that as Christians, we need to deal with others in truth and not deceptions. Satan is the father of the lie, and as children of God, we should be honest, “upfront”, and open with how we deal with people. Only the children of Satan lie. Children of God do not. So what you tell the candidates is the truth.
Secondly, you also need to understand that it is not a sin to not tell these candidates every dirty detail of your church history. Perhaps when a man is very close to being formally called, he should know what he is getting into, but just because a candidate comes to your church, you should not feel obligated to inform him of all of your church’s history and problems. This needs to be communicated to your church, and when candidates come, that they ARE NOT TO INFORM THE CANDIDATE OF CHURCH PROBLEMS OR PROBLEM PEOPLE. Leave this for the candidate committee to do as they see fit and prudent.
What the pulpit committee should tell the candidates is what is important and what bears on his future ministry in this church if they decide on him. Therefore church fights, splits, church disciplinary action on members that are still hanging around, financial crises, debt, legal problems, etc., are all issues that the future pastor need to know about before he comes, but are not necessarily things that candidates always need to know about on first contact unless he specifically asks about it. I would recommend that the Pulpit Committee clearly list these issues, and have one or more of the men to talk through the issues with the probable candidate at a time when the Pulpit Committee feels is best (a committed, very likely candidate, but not to everyone on first contact). Being too free with this kind of information will drive off a good man if you are not careful. There is nothing wrong with being brief about these problems, and tell the candidate that as he progresses in the process, they will inform him completely of these things.
I would also recommend that this not be done on the candidates first visit, except if it is a very overbearing crisis the church is in. For example, the church cannot pay its debts and there are possibilities of foreclosure on the property, or the church had a split and the old pastor took a group and left. Those kinds of overbearing crises and situations need to be discussed upfront. For the rest of the important stuff, save it for the final talk before offering the candidate the position.
In the case of a former pastor leaving in disgrace, the candidate needs to know about it, and he needs to know why the former pastor left. He needs to know about any moral crises the church has recently been through, because it may affect his decision to join them or not.
As far as doctrine, there should be an exchange of doctrinal statements, both the candidate and the church should exchange doctrinal statements. Once that is done, the previous church where the pastor has been pastor should be visited or called anonymously and their doctrinal position should be confirmed. In cases of a first-time pastor, this cannot be done. As a matter of practice, every candidate should have some kind of ministerial history, and this history should be explained to the Pulpit Committee in length, and they should ask the pastor about his pastoral experience. From the time he began to study and entered the ministry, the minister should detail where he served and in what capacity, and why he left that place. He should tell the committee what he liked and disliked about his previous ministries. The last or last few places where the minister has ministered should be contacted and asked about the circumstances of his leaving. It should be very clear to the Pulpit Committee that the norm for a good minister is to not be bitter and attack bitterly the people where he used to minister even if they were 100% wrong. Remember, calling the old church will only get you one side of the story, and that side will normally be antagonist against the minister. That should be clearly kept in mind when evaluating what they tell you.
Once the doctrinal position is established, there should be questions by the pulpit committee of the candidate and see how he responds, and how he understands his own doctrinal position. The doctrinal position should not be passed over lightly. On the one hand, many churches get pumped up on doctrinal positions that are not all that clear in the Bible, and they think it is of “do or die” importance. That should be kept in mind, i.e. maybe the church’s position is too strong in minor detail. Ask yourself, if our pet doctrine is absolutely the most important thing out there, then does God see it that way? Is it very clearly presented from Genesis to Revelation that it is a predominant doctrine? Evangelism is such a doctrine, and nobody wants it from the lack of emphasis placed on it. The doctrine of the inspiration of Scriptures is also another very important doctrine, but the endorsement of a particular version of Scripture (e.g. the KJV) is never even once mentioned in Scripture. Keep these priorities and how to discern if something is a biblical essential or a personal conviction that just plain lacks verses that clearly express that doctrine as it is promoted in the church or by some individual.
These kinds of borderline issues tend to be the deciding factors for selecting a pastor, and they absolutely should not be. Find them in the list of requirements for an elder. They are not there. Because churches exalt (usually because some previous pastor or preacher or even a current member which influenced on the church has exalted them in the past), they miss the really important things, and they are cursed with wolves instead of men of God. Even in the most important of doctrinal issues, a man of God realizes that you cannot camp out on that doctrine forever. Some men will preach the KJV and never get off of it, or evangelism, and they never grow their people because that is the only thing on the menu year after year. Balance and maturity in seeing the broad spiritual needs of all the church members is what a good pastor will constantly be worried about. Although some of these issues are completely valid (like a pastor preaching on why he recommends the version of the Bible he uses), but one thing is teaching the thing, another thing is to drag that issue into every service, teaching, sermon, etc even when it doesn’t belong there, and even when it has been thoroughly covered.
There is no room for “hobby horses” even if what you think is so important, actually is important. Many preach for weeks on the crucifixion and resurrection before and during Easter. That is fine. It is very important, and I, as pastor, would think it rare to only preach on it during that time of the year. But if you never get off of that topic to preach say (church fellowship and communion, the basics of Christian life, prayer, evangelism, etc), your people are unbalanced as you are. The preacher must preach the whole counsel of God, and that means variety and not staying on the same channel forever and a day.
It is recommended (if possible) to ask the pastor to give you a list of the titles he preached in the last 6 months in his previous church, the best he can remember. If he can obtain some of these sermons on cassette or CD, listen to them. See what he is constantly returning to. Evangelism and salvation, fellowship with God, the relationship among themselves and the activity of the local church, these kinds of themes are very healthy to run through a man’s preaching.