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Essential tasks

  • Interacting in person with and interviewing candidates at a more thorough level. Much can be gleaned through non-verbal communication and by meeting with candidates in context that cannot be learned otherwise.
  • Communicating with candidates at the close of or soon after visits about status and next steps. This information allows candidates to make informed choices about this and other search opportunities. It also permits the candidate(s) still under consideration to begin exploring the logistics of a potential move.
  • Doing due diligence with candidates. Congregations can decrease the potential of legal liability and the pain and expense of a poor fit by running thorough background checks and holding in-depth conversations with references.
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Reflection questions

  • How should we include a candidate’s family (if applicable) in the interview process?
  • In what situations do we want to observe a candidate’s leadership and relationship-building skills?
  • What would our church look like with each candidate’s leadership?
  • What do we need to be really honest with candidates about?
  • How do we make best use of references, background checks, and web searches?
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Best practices

  • Considering a neutral site visit
  • Designing a site visit that attends to a candidate’s family needs (if applicable) and leaves space for a candidate to rest and explore the community
  • Paying travel expenses up front as much as possible instead of reimbursing
  • Contacting references (first letting candidates know that you are doing so) and running background checks
  • Giving the church’s references to candidates
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From the candidate's perspective

  • Hope about the deepening of relationships and possibilities with your congregation.
  • Hesitancy to name considerations that the candidate and family (if applicable) need in an on-site visit.
  • Conflict about having to give limited or less than forthright information to current ministry setting when coming for a site visit.
  • Risk to current position if that ministry setting finds out about the candidate’s search.
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Are we ready for the next stage?

  • The search team and candidates have asked questions of each other that will enable the parties to determine fit.
  • The search team has called references, run background checks, and followed up on any questions raised by this due diligence.
  • The search team has taken care of any remaining expenses incurred by candidates on site visits.
  • The search team has named the candidate of choice and is prepared to present the candidate to the confirming body.
  • The search team has notified other candidates who came for on-site visits that a candidate of choice will be presented to the congregation.

Go to next stage