Essential tasks

  • Learning how to complete the essential tasks of the search. Before the search team can outline the search process, it must know what steps comprise a well-conducted search.
  • Identifying resources (as well as gaps) at the search team’s disposal. What information, funding, technology, skills, physical space, and other helps does the search team have? What does it need but not yet have?
  • Setting the stages and a tentative timeline for the search process. A realistic search outline not only guides the team in its work, it also lets the congregation know that the process is on track.
  • Figuring out how to track candidates and actions. Nothing derails a search – or makes candidates question whether to stay in a search process – faster than disorganization and confusion.
  • Planning for regular updates to congregation and staff (if applicable). Search seasons are highly anxious for congregations and their staffs. Communication is a primary way to quell anxiety and allow people to focus on their ministries.

Reflection questions

  • What will it look like for us to be faithful in our work?
  • How will we lay the groundwork for the new minister to get off to a good start by the way we conduct the process?
  • What is it critical to do at each stage of the process? What is at stake if we don’t do these things?
  • How do we create a timeline that will allow for momentum without exhaustion?
  • How will we build in regular reflection on and celebration of the process itself?

Best practices

  • Seeking out search team and anti-bias training from judicatory, intentional interim minister, coach, or consultant
  • Clarifying to whom the search team is ultimately responsible (e.g., governing body, congregation as a whole, or judicatory)
  • Establishing goals and sub-goals for the search process
  • Deciding how to involve other staff in the search appropriately (if applicable)
  • Claiming roles within the search team
  • Setting meeting times and frequency
  • Identifying the points at which it is important to communicate with candidates

From the candidate's perspective

  • Could be serving elsewhere with no thought of seeking a new position.
  • Could be seeking a new call and keeping ears perked for opportunities. Might begin tracking your congregation’s progress through the transition time and looking for a position announcement.

Are we ready for the next stage?

  • The search team fully understands the work of the search.
  • The search team has obtained the resources it needs for the search.
  • The search team has established a flexible outline and timeline of the search process stages.
  • The search team has created a means of tracking all interactions with candidates.
  • The search team has a plan for communicating with the congregation, staff, judicatory, and candidates.
  • The search team has shared with the church what it has been doing and how this work benefits the process.

Go to next stage

If you want to read more