3 Reasons Why You Haven't Heard From The Search Committee
By: Brian Dunks June 23, 2016
Scenario: You’re a church job candidate that’s been through a phone screen. The search committee has flown you and your family out to the church for a weekend on-site visit. You’ve taken a tour of the campus, had meals with church staff and key lay leaders, and sat through multiple interview sessions. It’s even possible that you’ve preached a sermon, taught a large group or led worship. You left feeling confident that things went well and that you are a great fit for the church. Then: silence. The committee gets really quiet for a prolonged amount of time.
There could be many possible reasons for the slow and deliberative behavior of pastor search committees: some good, bad, or even confusing. Some are practical, some are because of church polity and procedure, and others are the result of inexperience or forgetfulness.
Here are some reasons why you might not be hearing from a search committee.
1. The process is dragging and there is nothing to report.
In other words, no news means simply no news. Remember that most pastor search committees are comprised of unpaid volunteers and can only meet so often. Weeks can turn into months. Some meetings don’t have full attendance and much time is spent keeping everyone informed and up to speed. It can often take search committees a long time to make decisions.
2. The committee is unclear of the status of the search themselves.
There may be a Senior Pastor, high-level administrator, and or Board giving consideration to you as well, and the search committee may be waiting on their feedback or stamp of approval. There may even be some financial considerations that are being deliberated upon with the finance team. Sometimes a pastor search committee may decide that kind of situation is worth providing an update, sometimes not.
3. The committee is not in total agreement and the search is deadlocked.
Trying to get a search committee of any number of people in unanimous agreement is truly an act of God. Often, the committee is in prayerful consideration and waiting for a clear word of direction. Sometimes the search has been bungled because no one agreed what to do next. There’s not an update yet because they would have to admit failure or lack of organization.
As someone who has been through the search process with pastor search committees, here are some things you can do in the silence:
- Have patience and consistently pray. Pray for the committee and pray clarity for yourself. Utilize the gap of time to sincerely pray for God’s direction in your own life and the life of the church that is pursuing you for their position. It is easy in the waiting to become uneasy and anxious. Take necessary time to cast your cares upon the Lord.
- Continue to effectively minister in your current context. When being considered by another church, the temptation is to allow things to be put on hold or avoided in your current situation. This is not fair to your church. If and when you leave for another assignment, you will want to leave having done all you can for the church to move forward effectively after your departure.
- Occasionally ask about any progress. It is acceptable to reach out to the search committee every couple of weeks. An occasional email will allow you to express your continued interest in the position and receive any updates they are willing to deliver.
Pastor search committees are a necessary part of God’s activity in moving ministers from one place of service to another. Serving on one of these committees can be a challenging experience. Because of the serious nature of its responsibilities, there will times of silence. As a candidate it is imperative to understand the silence and even better to know what to do when it gets quiet.
How can you make the best use of your time in transition?
If you liked this, you'll also enjoy How To Keep Christ The Center Of Your Pastoral Search Process