Why Chemistry Does Virtual Searches
When Todd and I began talking looking at how to change the way churches found pastors, we wanted to find a way to make a managed search accessible to churches of all sizes and budgets. We are convinced that the quickest way to strengthen churches in this country is to help them find staff members that will be a great fit for five years or more. We are also convinced that we needed to create a process that churches of 40 and churches of 4,000 could afford. That is why we created Chemistry’s virtual search process.
When I have an initial conversation with churches, they will often ask us why we don’t include on-site visits in our process. The answer is simple: we have leveraged the technology available to us in a way that allows us to develop a deep understanding of churches and candidates without adding the expense of travel to the cost of the search (flights, rental cars, meals, conference rooms, hotels, and incidentals… costs in the several thousands above and beyond the search cost). What our churches have discovered is that our process forces them to have conversations that bring them to clarity about who they are, where they are going, and what they believe.
When a church signs on to do a search with Chemistry, we begin an in-depth onboarding process where we ask questions about the history of the church, their wins, their struggles, where they have been, and where they are going. We use this information to develop a profile of the church that paints an accurate picture of the church, warts and all. Our goal with this exercise is to limit the number of times that someone sits alone in their office, six months into a new job, thinking “I wish I knew that before I said ‘yes.’” We next take the church through a series of assessments similar to those taken by candidates. This allows us to develop an understanding of a church's theological leanings, the culture of the church, and how the team is wired. Once the onboarding work is completed, we then bring together Chemistry’s search team and the members of the church’s search team to walk through the results of the onboarding process together. These conversations allow us to drill down deeply into who the church is and identify what is true about the person who will be the right fit in that church.
Our churches have described our process as being rigorous, clarifying, and intense. Several of our churches have shared that the work that they have done with us has left them feeling that we have a better understanding of who they are than other firms that they have worked with in the past, and has allowed us to find the right candidates more quickly than previous searches.
I have heard it said that “if virtual worked, Jesus would have Skyped in.” Fifteen years ago, this was true. Technology has come a long way since then and what we have found is that virtual works, and it allows our churches to find the best fit, in the shortest amount of time, at a cost that is accessible to all churches.