Clergy Search Resources
The Appreciative Inquiry approach suggests that what we need to focus on in our search strategies is:
- What are we as a congregation like at our best and where is our best taking us?
- What are the candidates like at their best?
- Can we as a congregation provide a context for the pastor to be at their best?
- Can the pastor provide a context for the congregation to be at their best?
- Can we together, congregation and pastor mutually discover God's presence and purpose?
Behind these questions is the idea that effective ministry occurs when clergy and congregations need to create a context for each to call forth the best from each other, and within that best to discover the mystery of God's presence, purpose and calling.
This appreciative approach is in contrast to many search processes which ultimately get decided on whether or not each party can tolerate the worst that the other has done. The appreciative approach does not gloss over these problems or flaws but goes beyond them to discern if a positive foundation can be found to establish a productive ministry relationship.
We used the Biblical Model for the calling of Mathias (Acts 1:21-26) in developing Assessing Skills and Discerning Calls. When the Apostles needed to replace Judas they used a four step process:
- Know your organization's purpose.
- Set the criteria for effective job performance.
- Assess potential candidates with respect to the criteria.
- From a list of qualified candidates, discern who God is calling to the position.
These three steps are crucial for effective clergy calling. In our experience difficulties in the search process arise primarily for two reasons: No clear search criteria are agreed to so the search committee members are simply looking for their individual ideal pastor without regard for the whole. The second problem area occurs when the tasks of assessing skills and discerning calls is confused. Assessing competence is an essential prerequisite to engaging in discernment. It is impossible to effectively engage in discernment when some of the candidates being discerned over are incompetent.
Search Consultant Training
Assessing Skills and Discerning Calls
In this 2.5 day workshop participants will learn how to use the appreciative inquiry approach when conducting clergy searches including how to:
- Conduct a congregation-wide AI summit
- Create a parish profile
- Establish criteria for assessing a pastor
- Create a consensus scoring process for reviewing clergy competencies
- Use appreciative interviewing strategies
- Develop and assess performance on simulated ministry exercises
- Develop congregationally specific discernment exercises
Training Schedule and Details
For more information about our search consulting services please contact