Tag Archive: search committee

A Critical Step in Hiring A Minister


The pause.

The pause is relevant no matter how many ministers you hire.

The pause is critical no matter your church’s governance model.

The pause is a ‘must have’ no matter how long you’ve been hiring ministers.

The pause is, in fact, a pause.

After each step in your selection process with a minister candidate, you as a church leader need to ensure the decision maker or makers (hiring manager, elders, personnel team, whomever) pause.

Once we as church leaders get excited about a candidate and can see how they fit into our church’s future, we sometimes move things forward quickly and don’t stop.

We perpetuate urgency.

When you’re working urgently, you miss things.

A pause in the hiring process accomplishes several things:

  • It makes sure we’re in an Acts 15 moment “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”
  • It slows it down for things below the surface to literally rise to the top (some things are only uncovered in time)
  • It allows people to catch up. This is really important for search processes that include multiple people. Most “multiple people” have lives that aren’t solely focused on hiring ministers. So pauses give literal time for people to catch up on the process
  • A pause at each step tells the candidate that this is a process, it includes due diligence, and they too, should be pausing
  • And related to an Acts 15 mindset, pauses allow us to be still enough to hear from God. We want to always be a part of God’s “good, pleasing, and perfect will,” and that may not always match our desired candidate

There are some negatives to pauses. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.

One pause is not enough, I suggest a pause at every significant step (see link at bottom for examples of steps). I’m not suggesting how long a “pause” should be, that’s circumstantial and usually clear to the leader who’s involving others, wants the best, and seeking divine wisdom.

Completing a step doesn’t have to beget another step. In hiring a minster, the paradigm should be: complete a step, pause, and then make decision about whether to take next step.

Pausing could mean you delay having a minister on site by a week or a month. Pausing could also mean you never hire the minister. And in that case, the pause did its job…allowing time for the process to disqualify candidates, or changed the desires of a candidate or the search team, or for the Spirit to provide clarity that only comes from God.

As a practical takeaway, here is an Abridged Version of BBC Selection With Pauses that shows pauses throughout.

p.s. Lifeway President Thom Rainer has written some excellent blog posts recently about what ministers want search teams to know and what search teams want minister candidates to know.

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