Why we do what we do
It never fails… every time I find myself hanging out with a group of ministry friends I am asked about why we launched Chemistry. As I begin to share, it turns into another ministry war story swap session. If you have been serving in ministry for more than a few years, chances are that you have gone through a season of transition, searching for your next pastorate… and chances are, you have a few war stories of your own that you can share.
The dirty little secret of the church world is that the search process can be brutal. As I spend time speaking with leaders in transition, it is not uncommon to hear stories of frustration, heartbreak, and questions about whether they should continue the search. The common frustration was the lack of communication and clarity of the process and where they stood. This was true for me during my last search when I received a response from less than half of the churches that I submitted a resume to.
I am convinced that for most pastors, the first 6-12 months of their new pastorate is spent binding up the wounds inflicted during the search process. This hurts pastors and churches alike. This is why we launched Chemistry: to help make the search process healthier for everyone involved.
We’re convinced that churches don’t set out to make the hiring process miserable, but it happens because Sunday is always coming and most churches do this once every 3-5 years. This can make it hard to know what, when, and how to communicate. It can make it tough to know how to craft a process that fits your church, and who to talk to. We started Chemistry to walk with churches through this season, sharing what we have learned through our years of experience, and helping churches and candidates alike find the right fit.
To that end, we have created a process that is candidate-centric, giving everyone who submits a resume to Chemistry the opportunity to spend some time with one of our Candidate Coaches, even if we don’t have a position that is a good fit for them. Our process has also been created to respect the time of our candidates and make it as personal as possible. Gone is the 15-page questionnaire that probes into every aspect of the candidate’s life, theology, and ministry philosophy before a conversation ever takes place.
Instead, we walk candidates through an online profile building process that takes 45 minutes to an hour and allows us to screen them for multiple positions. We encourage our coaches to learn as much about our candidates as possible and to coach them as necessary. With a team made up of pastors and church leaders who have walked this journey, we are able to develop a rapport with our candidates that many search teams are unable to achieve. This allows us to help candidates process whether a church is a good fit for them, whether this is the right time for them to pursue another position, and to discern whether they are aligned with our churches theologically, culturally, and personality-wise.
The candidate-centered approach may seem crazy when the church is the one who pays for our services, but we are convinced that this allows us to do two things: find the right long-term fit for the churches that we work with and make the process healthier for all candidates, whether they accept a role at one of our churches or not. When candidates have an ally navigating the process with them, they will start their new ministry role in a healthier place and that benefits the capital C Church.