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Don't Settle

Dont Give Up

The goal of any minister search is to find a great minister. I don’t think there is any church that consciously says to itself, “We’re just going to settle for a mediocre minister and see how things work out.” Subconsciously, however, some churches do just that. In this post, we are going to take you through the process of how that happens and how to make sure that doesn’t happen in your congregation.

Minister searches usually begin with a combination of excitement and anxiety. The church knows to start out that there is at least a small possibility that not many people will apply, but at the beginning, the awareness of that possibility may lead the church to work harder to find a good minister. After several months of few applications, however, the anxiety begins to take control. The church begins to feel the effects of the ministry gap. Both the members and elders of the congregation begin to feel a sense of desperation.

Many congregations, weary of searching for a minister, just settle for the first person that comes their way, regardless of whether they are a good fit for the congregation. This represents a complete departure from the original goal of the minister search. Whereas at the beginning the goal was to find a good minister, that goal is reduced to just finding a minister. This is most likely the biggest reason why turnover rates stay high for ministers. The church likes the new minister at first, but after getting to know him a bit, they begin to rethink their decision.

Think of it this way. When a church hires a minister, it is quite literally entering into a relationship with that person. You probably know someone in your own life who enters into a relationship with anyone who shows them interest because either they are not sure what kind of person they are looking for or they are just tired of looking for someone. How often do those relationships work out? Whether it is a relationship between two individuals or between a church and a minister, this dynamic works the same way. Why would a person, or a church, settle for someone who doesn’t meet their needs?

A church must keep the original intent of the minister search at the forefront of its mind at all times. Regardless of how difficult it is to find them or how long it takes, congregations must be driven by their desire to find their right fits. Anxiety leads to desperation. Instead of being anxious that you won’t be able to find your right fit quickly, why not just prepare for it to take time initially? Don’t be afraid to hire a long-term interim minister if necessary. Don Viar offers some good advice on hiring interim ministers in our blog post entitled “Sometimes an Interim Is Better Than a Hire.”

Don’t just settle for the first minister that comes your way. Once your congregation knows what kind of minister it needs, don’t stop at anything to find that person. It may take more time to find them, but if a person is the right fit for your ministry, your congregation will likely get many good years of service from them.

Is It Time to Change Tradition?
The ABC's of the On-Boarding Phase


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I was so happy when Minister Match reached out to me about a potential job. I consider Minister Match an answer to my prayers.
Clay Tidwell
From my standpoint as one of the elders, I can say we were pleased with the process, and feel the time and money spent was well worth it. We felt we received excellent service from your firm, and because we were among the first to use your service ...
Bob Perkins - Elder, Sunset Church of Christ
Minister Match did an excellent job connecting me with a congregation that I would not have known about otherwise.  Don Viar did an excellent job representing my concerns to the search committee and did an excellent job communicating their concerns ...
Drew Baker - Preaching Minister, South Fork Church of Christ
It was a great process for me. Minister Match did a good job of keeping confidentiality in collecting information, and the communication process was very clear. The staff was very easy to deal with and very helpful. Overall the experience was very ...
Joel Soumar - Youth Minister, Mesa Church of Christ
I think that because of the format that was there and the process that we followed, it made us stand out to our quality group of finalists who had other lines in the water looking for opportunities. When it came time to offer our finalist the ...
Joel Shelton - Search Committee Chairman, Commerce Church of Christ
The Minister Match team was very professional. The entire process was very transparent. It was structured and organized, which made it a whole lot easier. I felt that the team also had a genuine concern for the Lord's church and His ministers. ...
Joshua Duboise - Family Minister, Mesa Church of Christ
The process was well marketed and we were provided ample information to help explain the steps to the congregation.  The book that accompanied the information was very valuable and I referred to it often during the process.  As the search team ...
Bill Gaw - Search Committee Chariman, Waterford Church of Christ
I strongly encourage ministers to take advantage of the expertise of the folks at Minister Match to help put together a high quality resume. They will help you identify strong points you didn't even know you have! I am extremely satisfied with the ...
Joel Shelton - Commerce Church of Christ
Minister Match helped us hire a new minister in half the time we took for our previous hire.  We used the Minister Match process which helped us build a consensus of what we wanted.  Minister Match's network then helped us to build an ...
Tom Long - Search Committee Chairman, South Fork Church of Christ
The candidate pool for our need was something we had to work to develop but Don was insistent we wait for God's guidance and let it fill up when our human nature wanted to start right away. This served us well since our best qualified candidate ...
Jon Bouley - Family Minister Search Committee Chairman, Mesa Church of Christ

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ABC Blocks

Your congregation has just hired a minister, and it seems like they are the perfect fit. Congratulations! There is one more step to the process, though, and it is just as important as the process of finding the right minister. You might have heard people refer to how the “first hundred days” of someone’s job usually sets the tone for their entire career with that organization. The same is true with ministers. Just as your congregation is going through a major transition, so is your new minister. The first few months of a job are a stressful time, and it is the job of the elders and search committee to help your new minister through their transition.

We refer to this as the “On-Boarding Stage.” Since the “first hundred days” is so important to the rest of a minister’s career with your congregation, we believe this stage is one of the keys to reducing minister turnover in the church. In this post, we want to talk about a few of the things that a new minister needs from their congregation during this transition period. We will refer to them as the ABC’s of the On-Boarding Phase.