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The ABC's of the On-Boarding Phase

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.

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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.

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Is It Time to Change Tradition?

Tradition

People hold strong ties to their traditions, and that is true with churches as much as with anyone else. Traditions are not always a bad thing. They give us structure and security. They ensure we have a system in place for doing whatever needs to be done. Maybe every once in a while, though, we should take a step back and reevaluate our traditions. Is there actually a better method we just haven’t thought of because of our ties to this certain tradition?

In this post, we want to look at one tradition that we believe churches need to reevaluate, and that is the way they hire ministers. The traditional method for hiring ministers in churches of Christ has several weaknesses, and we would like to address just a few of those here as well as offer up some solutions.

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A New Direction Doesn't Have to Mean a New Minister

New Direction

Elders’ jobs are not easy, especially when it comes to letting go of a minister. Elders have the responsibility of caring for every soul in their congregation, and sometimes it is necessary for them to have that difficult conversation with a minister when he is leading these people astray through his teaching or conduct or when his work is simply not contributing to the members’ spiritual growth. There are justifiable reasons for an eldership to let go of their minister, and sometimes it is in the congregation’s best interest for them to do so.

What an eldership needs to be sure of, though, is that there actually is a good reason that it is not in the congregation’s best interest to keep their current minister. For the majority of the ministers who contact us after having their emplyment terminated, this is unfortunately not the case. From our experience, the most common reason for a minister’s termination, at least for pulpit ministers, is not unsound teaching, immorality, or even ineffectiveness. It is just that the elders decided on “a new direction” for the congregation. What does that even mean?

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Understanding the Hiring Process from a Minister's Perspective

Minister

Over the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of ministers about the Minister Hiring Process. For the most part, their reactions are something like, “I really appreciate what you are doing. This is something that the church has needed for a long time.” Many of them are speaking from the heart because they have been frustrated with what they have seen in their own job searches.

Understanding and addressing these frustrations could easily be what makes your congregation stand out to quality candidates who have other lines in the water, so we want to address a few of the most common frustrations and concerns that have been voiced to us.

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"... The book that accompanied the information was very valuable and I referred to it often during the process... I have already had the opportunity to recommend your services to another congregation and hope you all the best in the future." 

- Bill Gaw, Waterford Search Committee Chairman

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"Minister Match helped us hire a new minister in half the time we took for our previous hire.

- Tom Long, South Fork Search Committee Chairman

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"Don Viar did an excellent job representing my concerns to the search committee and did an excellent job communicating their concerns and process to me. I found that I was able to trust Don to faithfully mediate between the congregation and myself to bring about a successful process for both parties.

- Drew Baker, South Fork Pulpit Minister

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"Don and his staff were with us every step of the way; from the creation of the search committee all the way to the final negotiations with our new Youth Minister. I truly believe God answered our prayers by leading us to work with Minister Match."

- Jorge Acebo, Sunset Search Committee Chairman

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"We would not have been exposed to the large number of qualified candidates without the resources and expertise of Minister Match...I'm convinced we would not have contacted nor hired our two new ministers without Minister Match."

- Ken Fox, Mesa Elder

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"I don't think I would have this job if it wasn't for Minister Match and the grace and mercy of the Lord. Minister Match did exactly what they set out to do and matched the minister with the ministry."

- Joshua Duboise, Mesa Family Minister

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"We were able to get through a significant amount of work in a timeframe that respected all and offered a fair consideration matrix that didn't play favorites."

- Jon Bouley, Mesa Family Minister Search Committee Chairman

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"We would not have been exposed to the large number of qualified candidates without the resources and expertise of Minister Match...I'm convinced we would not have contacted nor hired our two new ministers without Minister Match."

- Ken Fox, Mesa Elder

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"It was a great process for me...Overall the experience was very smooth and very easy."

- Joel Soumar, Mesa Family Minister

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"Communication was excellent...Most importantly, we ended up with some terrific candidates and a top-notch youth minister.

- Brandon Clark, Mesa Youth Minister Search Committee Chairman

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Testimonials

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
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
We had a very good experience with Minister Match.  This was not the first time we had searched for a minister, but it was the first time we used a search firm.  Our experience with Minister Match was a complete success.  In previous searches, we ...
Jim Holway - Minister, Sunset Church of Christ
Minister Match connected me with a church, had the details for every aspect of the process already taken care of, and communicated well. It was a very easy process, and now I am a youth minister in Miami, Florida!  I was very impressed with the ...
Sam Wilson - Youth Minister, Sunset Church of Christ
Our Search Committee is so grateful that we used Minister Match when we needed to hire our new Youth Minister. Minister Match assisted us in recruiting many serious candidates (over 30) that fit what our congregation was looking for. The ...
Jorge Acebo - Search Committee Chairman, Sunset Church of Christ
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
We would like to thank you for your efforts to make the minister hiring process simple and well defined. The congregation here has not been through the minister hiring process in sixteen years and had little experience left for trying to do so. We ...
Jim Burdette - Elder, Frederick 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
We would not have been exposed to the large number of qualified candidates without the resources and expertise of Minister Match.  The search process was very organized and accomplished very efficiently with the program and schedule provided by ...
Ken Fox - Elder, Mesa 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

Contact Information

Minister Match
410 South Lowe Avenue
Cookeville, TN 38501

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.