Church Profile and Focus Groups
The search committee has made great progress since we started our weekly meetings. In March, we wrapped up the local profile. This profile is roughly 25 pages and holds a great deal of information about our church and our missions. The search committee put a lot of time into it to show all the good qualities of our church. We were very proud of the final product.
We conducted two focus groups with members of the church. These were great sessions to expand on the Congregational Survey that was completed at the end of last year. It was very insightful with a lot of good input from many members of the congregation. In addition, we conducted one focus group with members of the church who don’t attend on a regular basis. This also was an informative session. We were able to confirm through the three focus groups that the information we provided in the local church profile was the intent of the congregation. We will use the suggestions and input from the focus groups to drive questions for the interview and how we evaluate potential candidates.
On March 21, 2012, our job announcement was released on the church website (http://www.ucc.org/classifieds/pdfs/ucem.pdf). The tag line to attract people to our church was very attractive: “Got mission? If God is calling you to a mission focused, faith filled community based ministry, we seek your energy, vision & passion. Pastoral responsibilities, preaching & worship leadership are exciting components of this very unique church.”
People who are interested in the job will contact our conference association office. They will then forward the profile of any candidate who is interested in the job to our committee. After we review the resume, we will decide if we want the candidate to have access to our local church profile. If the person is still interested after reading our profile, we will use the resume and internet research to prepare to interview the candidate.
Last night, the committee as a collective selected our interview questions for the candidates. We started with 70 questions broken down into categories such as: Administration, Congregational Life, Community Outreach, Education, Ministry Experience, Missions/Evangelism, Pastoral Care and Counseling, Personal, Philosophy of Ministry, Staff Relations, Theological, and Worship Leader. We narrowed them down to 30 questions that will be split up during different interviewing sessions that were a good representation of all categories.
Now that the job is posted, we are excited to start receiving resumes. Over the next month, we will start reviewing resumes. Before we conduct interviews, we are going to have discussions with pastors who were recently called to service to understand the process from their point of view. In addition, we will conduct mock interviews with local UCC pastors. While we are evaluating candidates, they in turn are evaluating the committee and the church, and we want to ensure we put our best foot forward. We most likely will not start conducting interviews until sometime in May.
Another task that the search committee will have to consider is finding an interim pastor. In all likelihood, we will not have a new pastor in place by the time Rev. Swartz retires. We will work with the conference and the church council to find a good interim pastor who will help with facilitating all our outreach programs during the summer. The interim pastor will not be a candidate for the pastor position.
The search committee has been meeting for at least two hours every week since January. We appreciate all the support from the congregation and the community as we pilgrimage through transitions and new beginnings. We will be happy to share as much information with you about this process as possible without violating any confidentiality rules. If you have any questions, please ask a search committee member or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhys Fullerlove – Search Committee Chair