How to pause a search ...
A lot has changed in the last ten days. If you are like most of the church leaders I have been spending time with lately, you have spent the last ten days in a whirlwind: shifting everything from in-person to virtual, calming your congregation, and trying to remember what you learned in seminary about ministering during a pandemic. The timing of our current crisis is particularly brutal for churches with Easter around the corner and because this is the traditional hiring season for churches.While I have been advising churches to plan on having a virtual Easter service, decisions on what to do with a pastoral search can be a little more challenging. With services moving to virtual for the foreseeable future, church leaders are managing the tension of being financially responsible in an uncertain time while also needing to have your new teammate in place over the summer. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this challenge, every church needs to approach this with wisdom and prayer. If you are wrestling through this decision right now, this video may help you in your decision-making process. If you do decide to press pause on your search, here are three things to keep in mind as you do it:
- Communication: Let everyone in your process know what is going on. Be clear with them about the status of the search, what is going on at the church, when you anticipate restarting the search, and when you will next be in touch with them. If you are deep in the process with a candidate or with a few candidates, I would strongly suggest that you be intentional about touching base with them every 10-14 days throughout the pause in order to let them know you are thinking of them, praying for them, and have not forgotten them.
- Compassion: You are up to your eyeballs in challenges right now and are feeling the stress of a new ministry reality. At the same time, the candidates that have submitted a resume and begun interviewing with you are experiencing much the same thing… plus, they don’t know where they will be working in six months. Be patient with them through this process and realize that part of your responsibility in the hiring process is to shepherd those that you connecting with in much the same way that you are doing that with your current staff.
- Consistency and Clarity: In situations like this being clear and consistent is key. In your communication with candidates, be honest about where they are in your process. If you are in talks with 3 candidates simultaneously, let them know. If you don’t think they will be the right fit, let them know that as well.
If you are wrestling with what to do about the search you are currently conducting and could use an outside set of eyes on whether to press pause or move forward, I’d love to have a conversation with you. This link will help us find time to talk about what you are experiencing.
One last thing… over the last week, some of our team have put together short videos to help address some of what our churches are experiencing in this current ministry environment. I hope that you might find some of these to be helpful:
- David Viland gives insight on what church leaders need to be thinking about when it comes to finances and generosity during this unique ministry season.
- Kelly Norris shares ways to increase clarity and be the church in this season of uncertainty.
- Darrell Roland offers some of what he has learned when it comes to doing church in a virtual environment.
- Brad Ogden shares how to keep social separation from becoming social isolation.
Our team continues to pray for you daily and is here to serve. Please let me know how we can resource you in these interesting times.