You might be wondering why Searching for the Called emphasizes trust-building with candidates (and other affected parties) throughout the process, then pushes for extensive discussion and clarity around the nuts and bolts of the agreement in the covenanting phase. If congregation and clergy trust each other, shouldn’t that be enough? Why do we need to name and put expectations of one another and the terms of call in writing?
Leadership changes. The chair of your search team or governing board might know all the details that went into covenanting and compensation conversations, but what happens when that person is no longer in that position, leaves the church, or dies?
Memory fails us. We often give our recall ability more credit than it deserves. It’s easy to forget or mis-remember, and often the people in the room will later recount the same conversation in divergent ways.
Documents provide touchstones. How is the pastor-parish relationship going? You can compare its current state to the promises you put on paper, then course-correct as needed.
Assumptions breed problems. Unvoiced ideas lead to clashes in expectations, which can quickly escalate.
Transparency breeds even greater trust. Nothing undergirds a healthy relationship more effectively than meticulousness and forthrightness.
Get the details in writing. Your church will save itself a lot of conflict and heartache – which distract from the work of ministry - down the road.