Search committees in churches are notoriously bad at communicating to candidates… at least that’s what I heard time and time again when I ran a church staffing website. Thom Rainer has put together a great list of suggestions your search committee should consider:
— Understand the potential disruption caused by your contact of a pastor. Most pastors at least pause and pray when they hear from another church. They often include their spouses in the early discussion. They may wonder if the contact is indicative that God may be leading them to another place of ministry. If a search committee contacts a pastor, at least be aware of the disruption that could take place. Perhaps it’s not best to send 200 inquiry letters to 200 different pastors to see if anything sticks.
— Have a clear plan for the process of calling a pastor. Let the contacted pastor know that plan on the front end so he won’t be left wondering what the next steps are.
— Prepare any questions before you contact the pastor. I have heard from many pastors who meet in person with the search committee, as well as those who first communicate via phone or Skype. They are often frustrated at the randomness of questions asked, and how different members of the search committee don’t know what the other members will ask.
— Do your homework thoroughly before showing up in the pastor’s present church. Many congregations recognize a search committee immediately when they attend a worship service. These church members soon become worried, frustrated or angry at either the pastor or the inquiring church. The presence of a search committee can be highly disruptive. Many pastors do not even know that a committee is visiting his church. He, too, is caught off guard.
— Communicate regularly and clearly with the prospective pastor. As long as the process is open, stay in touch with the pastor. Many times the greatest frustration is the lack of communication. One pastor recently told me that he resolved not to talk further with a church because he had not heard from them in such a long time. He assumed that they had moved in another direction. The search committee was shocked when they heard that information from the pastor several months later.
— If the search committee decides to move in another direction, let the pastor know immediately. A courtesy call, even an email, will always be appreciated even if the committee concludes that the pastor is not a fit for the church. Many pastors have told me that they thought they were still under consideration, only to discover sometimes later that the church had called another pastor.
via Baptist Press – FIRST-PERSON: Suggestions for pastor search committees
What are your thoughts? Have you ever sat on a search committee? Was it a good or bad experience?