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Why voting on more than one candidate for a pastoral vacancy at a time may not be in the best interest of the church or the candidates. 

A “duo” occurs when a council recommends two names of pastor candidates to the congregation for a vote at the same time. The congregation first votes to indicate their preference between the two candidates and then votes “yes” or “no” on the preferred candidate to become the new pastor. Some churches offer a duo when the search committee and council believe they have two equally qualified candidates for a pastoral position. 

Thrive does not recommend duos (or trios). Search committees that follow the guidance of More than a Search Committee know so much more about the candidates than the average church member. Such search committees also have a good sense of the needs of the church as understood by the council and the congregation. For these reasons, the search committee and council should be “breaking ties” between two similar candidates, not asking the congregation to do so. 

The average church member has probably heard only one sermon and maybe listened to 30 minutes of questions and answers. The church members ask and trust their leaders to be vetting candidates and discerning God’s will. Letting the congregation decide between two candidates often means effectively asking, “Whose sermon on one particular Sunday did you like better?”. There are so many more important questions a church should be thinking about. 

What about the other pastor candidates?

If you do have two or three candidates you really like, be honest with those candidates. Let them know you think both would be a good fit, but you’re recommending person A first. If things don’t work out with Person A, you can reach back out to Person B and extend a call to them. 

In the meantime, do everything in your power to make sure the person you're calling will say yes

But doesn't church order require two or more nominees?

It is true that Church Order Article 4a and Supplement says that "in calling and electing to an office, the council shall ordinarily present to the congregation a nomination of at least twice the number to be elected." But then the Church Order adds, "when the council submits a nomination which totals less than twice the number to be elected, it shall give reasons for doing so."  

We think the significant way the calling process (and technology) has changed is sufficient reason to justify nominating less than two candidates at once to the congregation. 


If you take advantage of today’s more robust search processes and available technology, a duo or trio should prove unnecessary. 

Thrive supports churches in times of transition and pastor search. Learn more at Pastor Search Process.


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