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Starting Over Doesn’t Mean You Failed

ResetButtonSometimes Search Committees can reach a place where you just don’t seem to be making any progress. You have interviewed a number of candidates but none of them have been the “right candidate.” Now, after several months of searching, the committee begins to feel an internal sense of pressure to “do something.” In this situation, search committees typically, do one of three things:

  1. They hire one of the current candidates anyway.
  2. They continue down the same path and hope a better candidate comes along.
  3. They realize the need to start over.

Settling On A Candidate

Believe me, I know the pain of a stalled search — I’ve been there. It is a dangerous time for the committee because of the temptation to just “settle” on one the current candidates. Internally, some search committee members might say, “this must be the best we can do so let’s just pick one…” So rather than hiring a minister that the committee can enthusiastically endorse, you hire one that will “get the job done.”

Please, whatever you do, never, never, ever settle on a candidate. Minister hirings are too important to risk hiring someone that you don’t fully believe in on the front end. We are talking about the future of this area of ministry (if not the entire congregation).

It is also not fair to the congregation, to the candidate or to the candidate’s family to put everyone in that situation. Both the candidate and the congregation will sense your lack of enthusiasm and it will cast a shadow over the relationship right from the start. The congregation has entrusted the committee to find the “right” minister and you owe it to them to only bring them candidates that the committee can overwhelmingly and wholeheartedly support.

Staying The Course

They say that one of the definitions of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. If you continue to conduct the minister search in the same way, what makes the committee think it will yield a better result? How are you going to do to find additional candidates? How will you evaluate them and compare them to your current candidates? These are important questions that the committee needs to address.

Please don’t get me wrong… I fully believe in God’s providence and that it is possible He will drop the right candidate into your lap. I don’t discount that possibility for a second. Having said that, I believe that the Committee still has a responsibility to conduct the search in an orderly manner to find the best candidate. If the current process hasn’t worked, it may be time to make a change.

Starting Over With A New Process

While some may look at starting over as a failure, I don’t see it that way at all. In this case, you are succeeding by NOT hiring the wrong minister. It is a sign of wisdom, humility and maturity amongst the committee members who come to this conclusion.

I know you may have already invested months and months of time and energy into the current process. I know that you hate the thought of the search taking even longer to complete. I also know that it is painful for the congregation and this area of ministry to continue without a minister. But all of that pain pales in comparison to the pain of hiring the wrong minister. A bad hire often leads to stagnation, decline and sometimes even division in the body. It just isn’t worth the risk.

If you find yourself in this boat, I hope that you would consider our Minister Hiring Process as one path to help your committee move forward. Our process doesn’t promise to help you hire someone within 90 days, but it will teach you how to cast a wide net and attract great candidates into your search. Once you have your candidate pool, we walk you step-by-step through the selection process to pick a candidate that you CAN confidently endorse to the rest of the congregation.

Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward. If I can help you in any way with your search, I’m always here for you…

We Like You But We Are Going To Keep Looking…
Elder – Minister Relationships

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Joshua Duboise - Family Minister, Mesa Church of Christ
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Drew Baker - Preaching Minister, South Fork Church of Christ
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Bill Gaw - Search Committee Chariman, Waterford 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.