Maybe you’ve noticed, there always seems to be one child during an Easter egg hunt who, unsure of what to do, sits down in the middle of the church yard with their Easter basket beside them. Setting their basket out, they appear to wait for the eggs to come and hop into their basket, and walk away, certain they will have all the eggs they hoped for.

Although it can make for a cute approach to an Easter egg hunt, it’s an unsuccessful method for the church in searching for the next person to the join its staff. Yet, this is often the style that unprepared search committees tend to take.

A posting is drafted with the job description and minor details about the position, it’s posted on the church website, and then the waiting begins. And it continues, and the team is left wondering, “What’s wrong with the church if no one will apply?”

In addition, tensions tend to rise about the vacant position and the size of the shoes that now need to be filled. Questions can be heard throughout worship on Sunday morning. “When will we find the right person?” “How will the next person do the job like Jill?” “Do we have someone else already to fill the position? I know they just announced it this morning.” The list of hopes, dreams, and expectations grows larger and larger.

For many churches, the search process can be fueled with worry and anxiety and often results in hurried and rushed search. Although there are stories (maybe legends) of how the hurry up offense resulted in a great hire, it’s more likely that the results of a rushed hiring process are jeopardizing what might be best for the ministry, creating unmet expectations, and settling for the first person who provides a good interview.

What if there was a way to ensure better results from the search? What if the only unknown variable in the search process was the person that will be hired? What needs to be done to find the best fit? Click To Tweet

In order to conduct the best search, there are three crucial components to consider.

The search work always starts in-house.

Assessing what is and what isn’t currently working in the ministry is the first step. What people love about the ministry and what they hope for in the future can be key in making a successful hire. Reviewing the current mission and vision of the church and outlining how this position fits into those goals will set the new hire up for success. What new season is the church entering and how will that impact the job description and responsibilities? These are big questions that take time to answer. The answers though are the foundation of all the work the search team is expected to do.

Form a clear process and timeframe.

Creating clarity about the different stages of the search and setting time frames for each help to keep the work on track. Consider a six-month timeframe when thinking about next steps. How long do you intend to review and assess the ministry? How long will resumes be collected? When will phone interviews begin and when do we intend to move toward in-person interviews? When do we expect to be done? Not only do the answers to these questions help the search team stay on track, but it provides a communication map to be shared with church members, too. Often, having a clear and unified response from the team is enough to turn the tide of anxiety toward patient anticipation.

Be prepared to do your homework.

Avoid the tendency to post the position and sit back and wait for resumes to appear. This is a search and requires some hard work from the team. Create an elevator pitch and social media posts the church members can share. Shape the interview questions to match the type of experience you’re looking for. Take time to discover how the candidates previous work matches up with the newly fine-tuned job description. Follow-up with references to hear more about their previous work and experience. Does that reflect what the ministry needs now and in the future? As a team, agree to wait for the right candidate.

The search process can feel overwhelming with no plan in place. But a diligent, thoughtful, intentional plan for conducting the search process will set up the church and ministry for the type of results you are hoping for. Click To Tweet

So, pick up the Easter egg basket, peek behind the trees, look under the branches, and search until you find the person who will help to lead you in the direction God is calling you to go.

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