I'm The Pastor, Shouldn't I Do The Search Myself?
By: Joshua Long
It’s in my nature to want to do things myself. Whether it’s fixing the car, repairing some drywall, laying a tile floor, or even installing a new electrical plug. Now understand, I’m not an expert in these areas, but I do find satisfaction when a project is complete and I’ve done it all by myself. However, there have been instances when I have reached a point where my time, energy, or experience brings me to the point where I must call in an expert. It’s happened with my car, a wall, a floor, an electrical outlet, and countless other home projects.
Was I relinquishing my responsibility as the leader of my home or as the pastor of the church if I brought in someone from the outside? The answer is a simple no. There comes a point where I knew that as a steward, it was my responsibility to bring in someone who had the time, the energy, and the expertise to complete this project in the way I knew it needed to be completed.
Whether it was a project at home or a project at church, I learned I needed to ask myself three questions to determine if it made sense for me to do it on my own. If I could answer yes to these three questions, then I would happily tackle it myself, but if I had to answer no on just one, I knew I needed to bring in someone who could answer yes to all three. This applied when I served as pastor of a church plant where I was the custodian, handyman, and accountant and also when I served as pastor of a church with over 50 employees.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul says this about service and working in God’s Kingdom, “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” I’m not the only one who can get the work done and it doesn’t make me or the work any less spiritual to bring in someone from the outside. God has blessed others with gifts that are different than mine; God has blessed others with experiences that have allowed them to grow and surpass my understanding in different fields.
Ask yourself these three questions when deciding whether to hire a search firm or tackle it yourself.
1. Do we have the time in our schedule to commit?
Let’s be realistic here. Do I want to say this is so important that I have to make time? Yes. Will I really have the time in my schedule to fully commit to the work that is needed to accomplish this very important hire? Probably not. If you’re a Senior Pastor, I don’t need to remind you of the amount of time taken up by everyday pastoral duties. If you are anything like me, I never had extra time and I was always lamenting the lack of time I had to spend with my wife and children. The last thing I needed was allotting time slots in my week to sort through the dozens and dozens of resumes. It wasn’t realistic for me to be available for each personal interview and committing the time each one warranted.
2. Do we have the mental fuel to spare?
Maybe you’re different, but I only had so much energy to give each week to the projects on which I was working, regular weekly services, programs and various church activities. This isn’t time, but fuel. There was the sermon prep, blog posts, mid-week teaching, and staff oversight that required my immediate attention and energy. Even if I found the time, I didn’t necessarily have the required fuel in my tank for an extra project; and finding the right person for a position is unequivocally more significant than another project.
3. Are we experts in this field?
There was an episode that occurred in our church’s Christian School where our state’s labor commission reached out to our administration requesting additional information on an employee issue we had dealt with the previous year. When the call came in from the attorneys for the state agency, instead of referring this agency to our church’s attorney, the church employee decided to deal with it on their own. I asked the employee later, “Are you an expert in labor law?” Of course the answer was no. It wasn’t that we had anything to hide. We were upright and ethical in our standing to which the agency ultimately agreed.
As a Christian School, labor law and complying with complicated state regulations were not our area of expertise; however, there were Christian attorneys readily available who were experts in these fields and would do a superior job of representing and protecting us. This is applicable in a broader sense. God has gifted particular and divergent people with abilities, talents, and gifts that don’t match my own. Those differences are the beauty of the Body of Christ.
I’m blessed to work for a search firm who specializes in partnering with the local church to fill positions such as children’s pastor, youth pastor, worship pastor, family pastor, campus pastor, Spanish pastor, outreach pastor, assimilation pastor, small groups pastor, discipleship pastor, associate pastor, women’s pastor, jr. high pastor, senior’s pastor, preschool director, media director, Christian School Superintendent, Christian college president, faith-based company CEO, and so many others.
The list is immeasurable and the search deserves a turnkey outcome. Vanderbloemen has 200+ collective years of experience in Christian leadership, the church, and parachurch world. As a team, we have 11 advanced degrees in theology, divinity, or leadership. Because of our team’s vast experience, our reach and connections to candidates are intentionally intertwined in our search and candidate sourcing process. We also love the whole church: we’ve worked with 50+ denominations across the theological spectrum - there is no Christian organization too small or too big for us.
When it comes time to hire one of these positions, I know we will partner with you, work hard for you, and pray alongside you to find the one God has been preparing and is now calling to your church.
This post was originally created on June 18, 2019 and was updated on May 20, 2020.