Finding Staff Members is a Science AND an Art
I mentioned earlier how we are convinced that there are five factors that determine a healthy, long-term fit for churches that are looking to add to their pastoral staff: theological alignment, cultural alignment, personality alignment, skill-set, and chemistry. Chemistry’s assessment process does a great job of developing an understanding of a candidate by gathering 125 points of data that help us understand whether someone is a potential fit for your church or not. But, if we are honest, we know hiring a pastor isn’t all about the science behind an assessment process… it’s also an art.
This is where Chemistry’s interview process comes in. When we find a candidate that we believe is a potential fit for a position, we take them through a series of three interviews with four different people. Everyone on our Candidate Coach team knows the Church, loves the Church, and has served (or is serving) on a church staff. This love and knowledge allows us to ask the hard questions that search teams sometimes don’t know to ask. Our interview process has three distinct stages:
- Story: Our first interview allows a candidate to tell us about their journey so far. We learn about how they came to faith, how they were called to ministry, what God has been doing in their life so far. We then unpack a little bit about what has brought them to a place where they feel like they are being called to move on to a new ministry opportunity. Our Candidate Coaches are able to leverage their decades of ministry experience to ask the right questions and develop a solid understanding of a candidate. They are also able to take off the interviewer hat from time to time and put on the coach hat and help candidates process their history when appropriate.
- Experience: The second interview focuses on a candidate’s experience, walking through the churches where they have served and learning about what they did, how they did it, and the ministry philosophy that drove their decision making. This feels less like an interview and more like a conversation and it is here that we develop an understanding of how they have operated in the churches that they serve and learn how they intend to operate in their next ministry. We also learn about what brought each ministry season to a close and how it ended.
- Discernment: While our entire process is developed to be one of discernment, the final interview is where we really lean into the specific church and the position that we are searching for. This interview is conducted by two people, the Church Coach, who is Chemistry’s subject matter expert on the church that we are working with and one of our most experienced Candidate Coaches. In this conversation, we spend a great deal of time helping the candidate discern whether this is the right fit for them and learning more about what they need in order to be successful in their next season of ministry. By the time this conversation wraps up, we have a clear understanding of whether a candidate will be a good fit for this church, or if there is another church that Chemistry is partnering with where they might be a better fit.
What is sometimes missed in this process is the tremendous amount of prayer that goes into it. Whether it is prayer by the church, between a Candidate Coach and a candidate, or by our team, we recognize that this process is both an art and science, but it does not work without being intentional about praying for our candidates, our churches, and what God is doing in and through each of them.