Search team composition checklist

Here are some considerations when gathering the members of the search team.

Who is eligible to serve on the search team?

Check your congregational and (if applicable) judicatory and/or denominational protocols to determine who can be on the team. In most churches, for example, the people on the search team must be members of the church. (You might be surprised at how many faithful participants in your congregation have never made their membership official.)

What kinds of personalities will the search benefit from?

  • Big picture and detail people
  • Imaginative and pragmatic types
  • Internal and external processors

What skills or gifts are needed on a search team?

  • Technology savvy (Note that some tech can be farmed out, such as updating the church’s web presence, but that it might be very helpful to have a search team member who is familiar with such applications as video conferencing.)
  • Record-keeping and organization
  • Correspondence composition
  • Deep listening
  • Meeting and process facilitation
  • Spiritual intuitiveness
  • Conflict management
  • Budgeting
  • Insightful question-asking

What size should the search team be?

  • How big does the team need to be in order to represent all the voices in the congregation and manage the workload of the search?
  • How small does the team need to be in order to make schedule coordination possible for regular meetings?

Can our church have one search team that calls both the interim minister and the settled minister?

The interim minister search team and settled minister search team are typically two different bodies. Some of the reasons include:

  • Each team is looking for a different skill set.
  • The two search processes are very different in length and intensity.
  • The interim minister search team might become very attached to the interim minister, making it difficult to consider other candidates objectively for the settled minister position.
  • The workload and length of service would be overly burdensome if the same people led both processes.

How will people come to be on the search team?

  • Will members of the search team be selected or elected?
  • If selected, what body is authorized by congregational/judicatory/denominational protocols to do the selecting?
  • If elected, when and how will the election be conducted so that the greatest number of people can vote? And are there any exceptions to the “X top vote-getters are on the team”? (For example, is there a caveat that two members of the same immediate family cannot serve? Are there certain constituencies that must be represented on the team, no matter the vote totals?)
  • Whether selecting or electing, how can those choosing tune into what God is doing and whom God is calling to serve on the team?

Who selects/elects the search team leader?

  • Sometimes the body that selects/elects the team also names the team leader.
  • Sometimes the search team itself chooses its leader.
  • With either approach, it is important that the leader be someone who is prepared for the tasks and embodies the qualities named on the search team leader task list.

What set roles are important to have on a search team?

  • Leader – someone who facilitates the overall process
  • Communications manager/recorder/secretary - someone who maintains careful notes about what happens in meetings, what contacts have been made, and what the nature of those contacts was
  • Candidate liaison – point of contact for candidates (could be the team leader or someone else)
  • Congregational liaison – point of contact for church members who have ideas, questions, or concerns (could be the team leader or someone else)
  • Spiritual guide – someone who helps keep the search process rooted in God (could be an ex officio team member or a fully participating team member)