Pastor Search Committee

Eli Wishart: Chairman
Kevin Lindler: Vice Chairman
Ryan Holt: Secretary
Bryan Barnes
Sherri Lydon
Teresa Milne
Andrew Rekers
Ellen Senter
Jim Whitmire

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The Pastor Search Committee has been hard at work since our first meeting in June 2017, and every step has been covered in prayer. We trust that God will reveal to us the man He has chosen to lead First Baptist in the coming years. We are grateful to a church that prays with us and for us, as we commit ourselves to this task.  The Committee welcomes your input. Early on, we placed a suggestion box in the church foyer so that you may provide your suggestions and comments. Through those suggestions and comments, we have received recommendations for internal and external candidates.  We enjoy receiving your notes, and each is being carefully considered. Now, through this page, we want to provide you with another avenue through which to communicate with us. We also want to present to you additional information about the search process. Please join us in this journey. We appreciate each of you and your continued prayers.

Pastor Search Committee, First Baptist Church of Columbia
Mr. Eli Wishart, Chairman

Search Process

The starting point for this process was the selection of the Pastor Search Committee. The Committee members were nominated by the Personnel Committee and then elected by church membership. Shortly thereafter, our committee began meeting weekly. We open all of our meetings with prayer and submit this process to God’s authority. We are aware of the many in our church who are praying for us and we are grateful for your encouragement.

    • Our first meeting was to organize and assign roles within the Committee.
    • We established internal procedures to manage all of the information involved with the pastor search.  This approach gives us access to resource materials we have gathered, including articles on the fastest growing churches, prayer, pastor leadership, Southern Baptist beliefs, our church demographics, etc. 
    • We also began gathering names of candidates. We received many recommendations from you and others through multiple external sources.  We have sought advice from leaders in our Convention and from within First Baptist.  The Pastor Search Committee will listen to the preaching of every pastor suggested by an FBC member.
    • Gathering information on prospects is much easier than in the past. We have access to an abundance of sermons and writings by these pastors on the internet.  Social media has also proven to be a valuable resource for information about these pastors.
    • We have a process in place for consistently evaluating the prospects, and each member of the Committee reviews each candidate independently.  We have begun visiting churches in order to observe candidates, see how their congregation interacts with them, and make observations that can only be made in person. Our process also includes developing interview questions which will be used in the later stages of the process as we get closer to extending a call from First Baptist Columbia.
    • It is important to understand that the Pastor Search Committee remains open to new candidates. Even as we narrow the search, we continue to receive new names. Each new person is considered and evaluated as if he had been there from the beginning.
    • Throughout this process, we are trying to exercise great discretion. We are interested in fully exploring everyone God places in our path. At the same time, we must be protective of those with whom we talk.

We consider you an important part of the process.  If you have suggestions, email us at