Thom Rainer recently wrote a piece entitled "Why it Takes Five to Seven Years to Become the Pastor of a Church."
In the article, Dr. Rainer gives this timeline for a pastor or church staff member's success:
Years 1 - 2: The Honeymoon Period
They like you. You like them. Life is great. Everyone smiles.
Years 3 - 4: The Conflict Period
Uh-oh. Something happens. You ruffle some feathers. Make a decision to do something different. Change things up a little. Not everyone loves it. Not everyone loves you anymore. Honeymoon over.
Years 5 - 6: The Recovery Period
By now, you've managed the biggest conflicts. You've ticked the highly tickable people off (every church has them). And you're still living to tell about it. Things tend to quiet down during these years, and you can really start the hard work of leading without all the distractions.
Somewhere, hopefully, by God's grace, you make it through to the fruitful years of ministry... somewhere between years five and seven. This is when Rainer concludes that you are FINALLY the pastor.
(Of course, this doesn't ring true in every situation. Each church is different. Church plants move quicker than established works. Church size and location factor in, as does the church polity, your personality and leadership style, and a myriad of other factors.)
But here's the truth: Many pastors and church staff simply don't make it through the conflict and recovery period.
Many (in fact, most) don't make it to the other side.
This is why Matt Steen and I started Chemistry Staffing almost six years ago.
We knew that there HAD to be a better way for churches to find healthy, long-term staff members that would have the grit to make it through five years of difficult ministry to get to the other side.
And we knew that there HAD to be a better way to match candidates to churches that really fit their theology, philosophy of ministry, personality, skills and abilities.
While no match is necessarily made in heaven (see what we did there?), we do think that with a little assistance and the right information, the search process can be much better on both sides.
And... nearly six years in, the churches and candidates we are working with are agreeing.
If you're a staff member that's looking for a great long-term place for your next ministry (even if you're not looking right now), your first step is to tell us a little about yourself by filling out your free profile. We'll guide you through a series of free short yes/no assessments that tell us about your theology, ministry philosophy, personality, and skill level. We'll use that information to find potential matches for you in the future. It could be tomorrow, or 2022. But we're building this huge database of possibilities for churches and staff members that we think will make a real difference in the Kingdom. And we'd love you to be a part by filling out your profile here.
And if you're a church that's looking for a true, long-term, healthy staff fit in the next six months, we'd love to talk with you and let you hear our heart to help you find a fit that will make it through not only the honeymoon but also through the conflict and recovery period so that they can be a key part of your church achieving its long-term mission in your community.
Either way, we want to serve you however we can. In fact, we'd love to hear your thoughts on Dr. Rainer's piece (you can find it here), or any thoughts, frustrations, concerns, or solutions you have about the whole staffing process in churches.
In fact... we're all ears!