The Search Committee by Tim Owens is a story of a colorful and identifiable collection of members from a small southern Presbyterian church who have been entrusted with the task of locating the next pastor for their church. Owens introduces us to Bill, the oldest of the group and designated bus driver. Joyce, the resident northerner brand new to the south also rides along. Susie and Dot are the single mother and town gossip, respectively. Travis is the young married man struggling with his wife’s desire to start a family. Matt is the single, professional PhD type living at home with his father and Frankie is the pleasant and unassuming woman carrying a heavy burden.
Owens’ book is about a parallel journey. On one rail of the track he chronicles the committee’s travels to and from churches across North and South Carolina. He does so by providing details on such things as the condition and smell of the old church van to the people they meet during their church visits. He frequently discusses their “system” of entering churches so as not to be identified by the churches as the group coming to “steal the pastor”. As a pastor, this method of search is one that I am familiar with. Owens recounts their travels, experiences, troubles, mishaps, and portions of their life stories. On the other rail of the track, he chronicles the journey that each of the seven members are on personally. As the members listen to the sermons of each prospective pastor, we learn how each one is impacted.
I really enjoyed this book. Owens does a great job of pulling the covers back on the lives of the committee so the reader may see their vulnerable human side. As he does, Owens reminds us that although we may look as though we have it together on the outside, you never know what happening inside. The Search Committee is a great read; easy and quietly challenging. I found myself laughing out loud at the actions of the committee. In other places, I was deeply moved by their life experiences. Owens includes a study guide at the end that would allow this to be a helpful small group resource on the subtle ways in which God works in our lives. I highly recommend.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”