Pastoral Search Questions

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by MinisterP, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. MinisterP

    MinisterP
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    You send a resume to a search committee, and they invite you to teach a mid-week Bible study lesson, then do a Sunday School recap and preach the following Sunday. You felt well recieved, at the meet and greet as well as the informal interview. You wait patiently to hear from search committee on how the search process is going. After 2 months, you call the head of the search committee but they don't even make any attempt to keep you updated. Is this the normal?

    BTW the church we are talking about is a rural church of about 100 active members and strong in tradition..............,
     
  2. Sularis

    Sularis
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    Since my church has done similar things in the past it has one of two meanings

    1) We're still interviewing - and this is a test (fleece) - depending on the church - you just passed or failed by calling back - btw in my church you would have failed.

    2) You didnt get accepted/called and we thought you would have gotten the point if we didnt phone talk or communicate with you in any way shape or form

    Perhaps other churches have other viewpoints - but this is what I have seen and heard.
     
  3. jshurley04

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    I am with you in feeling that it is highly impolite to keep those who have had any contact with the church body in the dark. I have been through that senario twice now and not heard a word from either church. One has at least replied to an email and the other simply ignores me. To say the least it is very frustrating, especially when you feel like God is giving you permission to continue contact with the church.

    I have put out some where in the neighborhood of 100 or more resume's and actually have heard from less than 20 or those churches in any way shape or form. It is truely frustrating.
     
  4. exscentric

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    Many churches get 1000 resumes so I'm not sure a response to an unrequested one is something I'd expect, though it would be nice.

    As to candidating/interviewing and not hearing, rude seems to be the word and I think it is happening more and more - no reason for it really.
     
  5. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Well, at least you have a clue as to what the level of communication and candor would be if you went to that church! Perhaps it's better to be delivered from indifference now than to be mired in it later!
     
  6. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    MinisterP:

    It sounds like you did everything well up to the interview but then you dropped the ball.

    First you need to remember that most if not all of the members of the search committee will not be ministers. They will approach their task with a more businesslike approach than most preachers would. But the job of a pastor is that of a small business leader as well as a spiritual leader and to be successful you need to be able to do both.

    Assuming that you have prayed about the church and feel that the Lord wants you to continue to pursue this position:

    After the opportunity to preach, you should follow up with a thank you letter addressed to the church. This should arrive in time to be read within two weeks of you preaching. If you know they are going to discuss you as a candidate the following week get the letter out Monday. You can mail the letter but a better solution is to hand deliver it to whoever extended the invitation for you to come preach. Stop by their place of business or home and thank them personally as you give them the letter (call first of course).

    About two weeks after the thank you letter contact this individual again and ask how the church is doing. You don’t have to make it a conversation about you, just ask how they are doing. They will update you.

    If you are really passionate about this church there are other things you can do to be a little more aggressive but they may backfire and make you appear desperate. “Chance” encounters with church members, remembering their names and special needs, and asking questions about church ministries or history are all ideas that can help. I would not recommend attending services there unless it is a mid week type revival or sing.
     
  7. gtbuzzarp

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    My friends in the pastorate seem to experience the same thing. I had one friend who I think was brought back 3 times or more, and after several months, they still hadn't made a decision. So he decided to say nevermind.
     
  8. MinisterP

    MinisterP
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    Well, the Sunday after I preached, I left a handwritten thank you card with the head of the search committee just thanking them for the opportunity to serve them. Her last words were, "we well be in touch." Again this was back in January. During my prayer time, I felt real good about things in the beginning. But lately, I've developed more of a nevermind attitude. A Pastor friend of mine suggested I should go back to visit. In my spirit I really do not feel led to do this. I definitely don't want to come across as desperate which I am not. This was my first experience and I have definitely learned a lot about myself and ministry.
     
  9. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    I disagree with you here. You make it sound like someone can manipulate the church and committee into extending a call to a man. Where is the leadership of God in this?

    I have been on both sides of the table in this situation. I have served on a Pastor Search Committee. The committee I served on had a guy follow your suggestions and we felt it was very insincere and fake. We removed his name from consideration. We wanted someone that was real and that the Lord was moving in their life, not that knew how to play the game.
     
  10. rbell

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    agree w/SBC here...and I've been both a candidate and a search team member as well...
     
  11. TaterTot

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    I must agree too. We have been on both sides as well. If you are the one, they'll know it and they'll call. Otherwise, keep seeking God's will. If you really believe this church to be God's will for you and are afraid they wont know that, then pray that the Lord would show them as clearly as He has shown you.
     
  12. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    I have chaired two search committees at my church, and here's the way we did it. Appreciate any feedback.

    First, we intensely sought by prayer that the Holy Spirit would guide the committee. We also agreed that our five-member committee would not move in any direction unless all five agreed. We believed that the Holy Spirit would not guide any of us unless He guided all five of us.

    Every resume was answered immediately with a request for a video or audiotape (or CD) with a sermon on it, along with as request for a detailed doctrinal statement, and philosophy of pastoring. Our letter also stated that the process could take some time, and urged not to get impatient. We also requested an e-mail address, mainly for seeking additional details or clarifications.

    Some resumes were fairly easy to eliminate, and letters (not e-mails)were immediately sent saying that the committee was led in a different direction, and thanking them for their patience.

    Those candidates still left received a personal phone call from the chairman, mainly to tell the candidate more about our church, answer any questions, the relationship with his present congregation, the usual stuff.

    From there, the committee zeroed in on one candidate and dealt only with that candidate until the door was closed, or left open for further contact.

    If left open, the committee would visit the candidate's church, hear him preach, and meet with him on his own territory. If still left open, we invited the candidate to come to our church to preach in view of a call, hold a Q & A with the congregation, then vote.

    If the candidate accepts the call, the others were notified immediately of the church's action.

    So, pastors and preachers, please evaluate our process, and suggest ways to improve it. Thanks.

    Tom B.
     
  13. PastorSBC1303

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    Tom, looks good to me. I don't think there is any perfect way of doing it. However, I do think both the committee and the pastors being contacted need to be real, sincere and committed to seeking the Lord. Those interested in playing games should do something else, IMO.
     
  14. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Tom, that looks great to me, efficient and courteous. I think the real key is to have a process and stick to it. Too many churches I have helped have a more haphazard approach that depends on who picked the mail up that day or who the candidate is related to.

    Lest I be misunderstood above, I said
    And
    If you believe that God has called you to do something I believe you should pursue it with all your heart and all your might. That does not mean being fake or insincere, just passionate. I just can not take the attitude TaterTot suggested of
    (Sorry TaterTot, I usually agree with you) I have just seen to many search committees to have much faith in their ability to discern the Lord’s will. I wish it were not so but many times I have found God’s will to be the least of their concerns. Perhaps I am jaded through my experience.

    Minister P. from what you said it sounds like you already knew what God’s will was for you and this particular church. Don’t feel bad about it, the last church I candidate for was not right for me either. You will have other opportunities. I will also.
     
  15. TaterTot

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    :eek: I am so hurt. I know what you mean though, thats why I added the part about asking God to show them clearly as well, if the pastor felt particularly called to a place and wasnt sure the church was sensing that too.

    Youre right, though, it goes both ways. May pastors want status and so do churches, without truly seeking God.
     
  16. Paul33

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    What your church is doing to pastors is absolutely disgraceful. Every pastor deserves a response by phone or in writing.

    The example given in the OP is a sign of the complete disrespect churches have toward pastors today.

    I know that I am called to the ministry, but the process of finding a church is so disheartening that many in my shoes simply won't put themselves through it.

    So calling the church to follow-up with the search committee is a fleece that results in disqualification.

    Get real.
     
  17. Paul33

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    If they know that you are not the one, why can't they show some courtesy and send a letter letting you know that they are no longer interested.

    It is flat out rude, improper, disrespectful and arrogant.
     
  18. Paul33

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    An even bigger joke is when they ask for reams of information from you and offer little to no information about them. And don't you dare ask in advance for the search committee to answer the same questions they are asking you.

    Search committees have no clue how much they are being used by the devil to discourage men of God.
     
  19. Paul33

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    Tom, I like your process. I would suggest that when you zero in on one candidate the others should be notified that you are focusing in on one, letting them know where you stand currently.

    I would then know that you are serious with one candidate and not left wondering where I stand.
     
  20. Joseph M. Smith

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    One aspect of this is the very real possibility that the church which has failed to communicate is embroiled in internal conflict and cannot honestly communicate anything to anybody until they have worked it through.

    Only once during my twenty years at the pastorate I held before retiring did I enter into serious conversation with a search committee about moving. After an initial visit with a portion of the committee, weeks and weeks went by, and then the chair of the committee called to say that they were entirely bogged down in misunderstanding, conflict, etc., -- not about me, but about themselves and what they were trying to do. In the end the church dismissed the committee and selected another one, which did not come back to me ... and that's fine, because I really do think it would not have been the Lord's will for me to have taken on that particular situation at the age of 60!
     

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