learning event

Go slow to go fast

When we gather a search team, often the tendency is to capitalize on initial enthusiasm to get as much done as quickly as possible. That's totally understandable. After all, novelty begets energy, and we don't want to waste it. But if we haven't taken the time to build our team and outline our process, even a small bump can drain that momentum and derail our collective work.

That's why it's important - even though it's counter-intuitive - to start slowly. Develop relationships among the search team members. Learn where each person is coming from, what their reasons were for agreeing to serve, what skills and experience and ideas they bring, what they need from others in order to make their best contributions, and how they deal (or don't) with conflict. When those involved in the search have this kind of context for their teammates, they will be able to engage one another more quickly and effectively when difficulties arise.

In addition to interpersonal processes, agreeing on procedures at the outset can make work go faster down the road. What is the future story we're striving for? How does everyone plan to participate in the work? What is our timeline? How will we come to agreement on major decisions? How will we ground our work in God? How will we hold one another accountable? What will we do if we come to an impasse? Intentionality at the front end can ease - if not prevent - many stresses that pop up as humans, with our anxieties and agendas, cooperate.

Note that slow movement at the start might prompt questions from the team and the congregation such as "why are we wasting time on this ‘soft’ work?" Be prepared to explain how deliberateness serves both the overall goal and the speed of the work that is to come.

In what ways do you need to pump the brakes in order to do some of this foundational work? Though it might seem tedious at times, your relationships and your efforts will greatly benefit. If you need help with going slow, this trust-building workshop is worth your consideration.

Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash.

Announcing an online workshop on trust-building

One of the keys to a successful search is taking the time to build trust - within your search team, between the search team and congregation, and between the search team and candidates.

But real trust is different than what we often think it is. It’s not just about being able to guess how others will act or react and planning our words and deeds accordingly. It’s about showing up as our authentic selves and inviting the people around us to do the same. This risk-taking doesn’t happen automatically, even among church members who have known each other a long time. It takes great intentionality.

I will be offering a workshop about building trust on Thursday, January 10, from 12:30-2:00 pm eastern. We’ll explore what the deeper kind of trust looks like and why it matters. I’ll share 8 Cs key to developing trust. And we’ll work together on ways to apply those Cs in our one-on-one interactions, team work, and whole congregations. The cost for this workshop, which will take place via Zoom, is $15 per participant. All are welcome, and I especially encourage you to attend if you are an influencer (clergy or lay) in your setting. You will come away from this workshop with greater hope for creating community and some tangible ways to make it happen. 

Many search teams make the mistake of skipping the trust-building work. It seems too slow, too soft. The benefits aren’t immediately obvious. But when your process hits a bump - there’s a conflict, there’s uncertainty about next steps, there’s pressure from the congregation - your team will have the relational tools to address the challenge and see the opportunity within it. Let me help you prepare for this time well spent building trust on the front end of your search process.

Registration for the workshop is available here.

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Introductory webinar recording now available

Searching for the Called offers live introductory webinars on a regular basis. These hour-long sessions cover the story behind Searching for the Called, the unique aspects of this approach to ministerial searches, the applicability of this approach to your context, an overview of the search stages, a website demonstration via a deep dive into one search stage, and search team coaching information.

The advantage of a live webinar is that participants can engage with the presentation and with one another, sharing insights and asking questions. The webinar schedule might not line up well with yours, however, or you might not have an entire hour to spare. For those reasons a 31-minute recorded webinar is now available. The recording addresses the same topics as the live webinar but without the person-to-person interaction. You are invited to view the video and share it with anyone who might be interested.

Introducing group coaching for search team leaders

Could your search team use additional guidance through the search process? Would it lower your anxiety to have pre-scheduled opportunities for working through the challenges of the search? Would you like to learn from and share best practices with other search team chairs?

If you answered these questions in the affirmative, I encourage you to sign up for group coaching. On the dates listed below I will walk participants through the designated phase of the search, then open up the conversation for coaching around the opportunities and obstacles each leader is encountering. All sessions will take place from 4:00-5:30 pm eastern.

September 9 - pre-search stages

October 14 - developing the search team

November 4 - designing process and core documents

January 13 - engaging with candidates, part  1

February 10 - engaging with candidates, part 2

March 24 - covenanting with the new minister

This group coaching will take place via the Zoom platform, which only requires an internet connection. The cost will be $100 per person per session, or $550 for all six sessions. If multiple members of your search team want to attend, the cost will be $150 per church per session, or $800 for all six sessions. Note that space is limited.

If you would like take advantage of this learning event in order to increase your confidence and competence for carrying out the search, sign up here. If you would like more information, contact me here. I encourage you to forward this post or this flyer about group coaching to others who might be interested. 

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash.