In some denominations, most or all resumes or profiles come through a national or regional office. For congregations that receive this candidate information directly, however, there are several schools of thought about which applicants to consider:
Everyone. The search team will look at all resumes, whether they were sent directly by the candidate or by someone else on the candidate’s behalf.
Pro: you might find stellar candidates who weren’t on any influencer’s radar.
Con: you might have a tall stack to sort through, with resumes that need a closer read than those who were referred.
Consider: what difference does it make to your search team - if any - when a minister self-refers?
Only candidates who are not looking. Some congregations don't like to advertise at all. Instead, they look for ministers who are doing good work where they happily serving.
Pro: this minister is likely competent, already being at a church.
Con: there are many great candidates out there who are looking for reasons other than because they are un-callable. (Maybe their positions were downsized, or they were victims of sexual harassment, or they have just not yet found the right fit.)
Consider: would you would want another congregation to lure your (content) minister away?
Only candidates who are referred by trusted sources. It's becoming a more common practice to solicit names from seminary faculty, consultants, and ministers who are friends of the congregation.
Pros: these candidates have built-in references and are well-networked.
Cons: you might get roughly the same list from every source, who in turn might be giving that list to other churches.
Consider: what questions you might ask your sources to uncover less obvious – and therefore a better range of – candidates?
Whatever approach your search team chooses for gathering candidate profiles, consider ministers who would stretch your congregation and remember to be hospitable in all your interactions. Communicate with everyone whose resume or profile you receive, and affirm candidates’ gifts even as you tell them you will not be continuing conversations.