Dear Christ Church Friends,
Managing a time of change in a Church is never easy. I am happy to note how well Christ Church is working towards this new change in life together. I have not seen evidence of any of the following, but thought you all might enjoy looking at an excerpt from Thom Rainer’s “Most Common Mistakes Churches Make in Interim Time.”
The church moves into a maintenance mode. To be sure, there are decisions and actions that need to be postponed until the new pastor gets on board. But neither the Great Commission nor the Great Commandment takes a vacation. There is still much work to be done
The process of finding a pastor becomes a “beauty contest.” Several candidates are paraded before the church or key groups in the church. Factions decide their favorite candidate. Tensions grow. Consider instead dealing with one or a very few candidates at a time.
The search process is handled internally. To be fair, most church members and leaders have never been a part of a search process. They are doing the best they know how. Over the past several years, I have become a strong proponent of getting outside expertise and help. As William Vanderbloemen said on one of our podcasts, “The worst hire a church can make is the wrong hire.”
The church leaves problems for the next pastor to handle. Don’t neglect making the tough decisions. If you delay these decisions, you are already setting up your next pastor to have problems and enemies at the onset.
The church fails to deal with sacred cows. Like the personnel issues noted above, don’t set up the next pastor for failure. If there are some sensitive issues to handle, do it during the interim period. Don’t wait.
The church isn’t honest about who they are. Every church wants to “look pretty” for the next pastor. Not being explicit about who the congregation has been, who they are now, and who they hope to be will lead to an incorrect impression about the congregation.
The search process is rushed. Churches are often surprised by the length of time needed for a search. A general rule of thumb is one year of search for each decade of service by the previous pastor. Allowing enough time to pray and discern the best hire is a bonus for the congregation but many put pressure on their searches to go faster; sometimes to their detriment.
Clergy love congregations, warts and all. None of us would be in what has been called “the impossible vocation” if we did not truly love leading and caring for groups of Christians.
Please pray for our Search Committee as they work their way through what can a challenging process.
Blessings and love,