Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Next Steps

One you have sent out an initial resume’ to churches, you may be contacted by some of those churches. Many times you will get a letter or email thanking you for your information but kindly letting you know that you don’t fit the profile they are looking for in the position. Unfortunately, there will also be churches who simply never contact you at all. Churches who want more information will most likely send you an Application or Questionnaire that they would like you to fill out and return with links to some of your sermons. I filled out documents like this that were as short as 6 questions to those that were as long as a couple dozen pages. One thing I found helpful was to save the first two or three that I filled out as a Word document on my computer. This allowed me to save time by “cutting and pasting” answers for additional documents I was requested to complete, as many of the questions were the same or at least very similar.

For most Search Committees, there will be a lengthy period of time as they sift through all of the resumes and questionnaires they receive. If you do not get “weeded out” through this process, the most likely next step will be a phone conversation with a member of the Search Committee. I always found these calls very intriguing as you can learn a lot about a church by the first question or two that they ask you. I had one church who knew very little about me whose first question to me was, “What translation of the Bible do you preach from?” That told me a lot about this church. Another church’s initial question was, “Do you ever think it’s OK for a Christian to drink alcohol?” That question also showed me a lot about that church. I’m not saying they are not legitimate questions, but I was intrigued that in these cases they were the first questions asked of me.

If this conversation leads to a next step it will most likely be a Phone or SKYPE conversation with the entire Search Committee of the church. I had several of these types of dialogues and always enjoyed them. In most cases, after this conversation it will become fairly clear to you, that Search Committee, or perhaps both of you, as to whether the dialogue should continue or if it will come to an end. Don’t get discouraged if this leads to a closed door. One of the best things that can happen through your search process is to see God open and close doors. Both are important and both are answers to prayer. That’s what I will talk about in my next posting.

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