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Our blog about pastor search, church staffing, and church leadership from our years of experience

Jay Mitchell

Jay Mitchell is a Senior Executive Search Consultant at Vanderbloemen Search Group.

Recent Posts

Featured Post

6 Mistakes Leaders Make When Inheriting A New Team – And How To Avoid Them
Posted by Jay Mitchell on 10/17/18 7:08 AM

9 Changes That Will Make A Big Difference In Your Aging Church

We see it all the time – a congregation ages along with its Senior Pastor. When the Senior Pastor leaves or retires, there’s a push to find a younger pastor who will, in turn, help the church get younger. To quote Lee Corso: “Not so fast, my friend!”

While it’s true that, in general, the average age of a congregation will be within 10 years on either side of the Senior Pastor’s age, it’s not true that simply hiring a younger Senior Pastor will make your church younger.

In fact, it is possible to get younger without hiring a younger pastor at all. If you want to get younger, your church will need to get serious about doing these nine things.

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Posted by Jay Mitchell on 9/24/18 7:03 AM

6 Warning Signs You're Risking A Moral Failure – And How To Avoid A Fall

I have a light on my dashboard right now that says “Maintenance Required.” It’s been there for a week and I’ve done nothing about it. I know I need to take it into the shop and find out what’s wrong, get it fixed, and get back on the road, but it’s just a “Maintenance Required” light. I am confident that I can keep driving for a while before it becomes a real problem. Unfortunately, by the time I take it to the shop to get it fixed, it might be too late. There could be something seriously wrong that might cost me a lot more time and money simply because I didn’t heed the warning signs.

As search consultants, we are often brought in to help replace a leader who has been fired or asked to resign due to a moral or ethical failure. These situations are always heartbreaking, and the ripple effects of these failures often continue for years. While healing and restoration are possible through the grace of God, the cost of failure is high for everyone - the fallen leader, their family, and their ministry.

When I talk to leaders who have experienced something like this, they usually say, “I can’t believe that I did what I did. I didn’t even realize I was capable of this. I wish I could go back and stop myself before all this happened." In most cases, there were likely warning signs on the dashboard of their lives that would have indicated they were heading down a dangerous path. If these warnings signs were heeded, they might have saved themselves, their families, and their communities a world of hurt. Here are six warning signs that may indicate you are at risk for a fall and should be proactive about overcoming them.

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Posted by Jay Mitchell on 9/10/18 7:02 AM

6 Lessons For Finding The Best Transitional Leader

I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review about how Private Equity Firms hire CEOs for companies that quickly need to be turned around. It got me thinking about churches in decline and in need of a new pastor to help lead them into a new season of growth.

Here are six lessons churches can learn from businesses and other organizations about finding a new leader to navigate a season of transition.

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Posted by Jay Mitchell on 6/28/18 7:05 AM

4 Questions Great Leaders Ask Themselves

I’ve been working with leaders and organizations for many years now. I’ve worked with CEOs of large tech companies and small start ups. I’ve also worked with leaders of faith-based organizations and churches. I’ve seen organizations that have grown to adapt to changing environments, and I’ve seen organizations that have stagnated and declined when faced with the same challenges. So what is the difference between a leader who grows through changes and challenges and one who doesn't? The answer - in a word – is curiosity. 

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Posted by Jay Mitchell on 1/18/18 7:00 AM

How To Make Your Meetings More Effective

A question I like to ask during an interview is, “What is your least favorite aspect of your current role?” Often, the answer is “meetings!”

In the worst cases, meetings are considered a waste of time that prevent meaningful work from getting done. At best, they are considered a necessary evil during the work week.  However, collaboration and teamwork cannot be developed in isolation or with a lack of communication.

How can you begin to make your meetings an aspect of work that your team looks forward to rather than dreads?

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Posted by Jay Mitchell on 11/16/17 7:00 AM

How To Develop A Compelling Vision For Your Organization

In our work as Search Consultants, we spend a lot of time with churches and faith-based organizations learning about their mission, vision, values and organizational culture. 

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Posted by Jay Mitchell on 9/7/17 7:00 AM

How To Lead Your Team To Fulfill A Vision

In our work as Search Consultants, we spend a lot of time with churches and faith-based organizations learning about their mission, vision, values and organizational culture.

While most organizations have a fairly clear vision statement, I have noticed that sometimes the vision statement has very little impact on how the organization functions. There are a lot of reasons for this. Ministry is relentless; Sunday comes every week. Christmas, Easter, and the Fall launches new programs every year. Many organizations have a de facto vision to simply make it through the season avoiding a significant mistake. This is understandable but not sustainable. To push your team towards your long-term vision, you need to have a better plan in place.

Click here to register for our upcoming free webinar: How To Staff Your Church To Fulfill A Vision

So how can you begin leading your team around a compelling vision? ...More
Posted by Jay Mitchell on 6/5/17 7:01 AM

6 Ways For Pastors To Get Out Of A Sermon-Prep Rut

It was a Friday night at 10pm, and I was in my office working on the sermon I was to deliver five times that weekend - the first of which was going to take place in less than 24 hours. My friend and Senior Pastor was driving by the church, saw my light on, and stopped by to see how I was doing. “I’ve got nothing!" I said, "This will be the worst message ever preached from this pulpit!” He laughed, but stopped when he realized I wasn’t kidding.

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Posted by Jay Mitchell on 3/1/17 7:24 AM

6 Steps To Having A Tough Conversation With A Church Staff Member

One of the questions I will regularly ask candidates during an interview is this: Describe a time when you had to have a difficult conversation with someone on your team. What was the issue? How did you address it? What happened as a result?

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Posted by Jay Mitchell on 2/13/17 7:18 AM

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