What the Search Committee Really Means
Reading between the lines you hear on your candidating visit
Pastoral search committees have been known to be excellent spinmasters. In their attempts to land a pastor, they can say some revealing things about the church … if you know how to read between the lines. Here’s what PSC’s are likely to say, and what they really mean.
What the committee said: “We have a long and distinguished history as a congregation.” – What they meant: We haven’t done anything worth a hoot in the last decade.
“We don’t have stereotyped expectations for our pastor’s wife.” – She doesn’t have to play piano for junior church. But naturally, she’ll want to head up the women’s group.
“We want a pastor who’s an outstanding preacher, a compassionate counselor, a successful soul-winner, a gifted teacher, a strong motivator, and an efficient administrator.” – We have no clue what we want, but we suppose you’ll do.
“What is your philosophy of ministry?” – What tricks do you have to increase worship attendance?
“Our attendance has been declining, but our church has a lot of potential.” – You’re our last hope before we close the church doors.
“We want a pastor who can bring energy and life to worship.” – We need someone to get the organist to play the hymns faster.
“We plan to repair the parsonage just as soon as we get a new pastor.” – We plan to have our new pastor repair the parsonage.
“We think many former members will return if we get the right person as pastor.” – If you don’t get them back, it’s your fault.
“The chairman of our search committee has opened his home to you for your candidating weekend.” – Try to ignore the boa constrictor and nude pin-ups in his son’s room. You know how teenagers are.
“We’ll be happy to pay you for your moving expenses.” – Up to the budgeted $375.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be here to help you get acquainted with our church.” – We’ll watch you like a hawk, because we’re scared to death you might do something that will embarrass us.
“You’ll have two weeks of study leave and four weeks of vacation annually.” – And whenever you take any time away, someone will say he wishes HE had such an easy schedule.
“How much do you need to live on?” – That’ll be your salary for at least five years.
“As the church grows, your salary will grow, too.” – Fat chance!
“You won’t have to fight traffic getting to the office every morning.” – The parsonage is attached to the back of the sanctuary, and the baptistry doubles as your bathtub.
“We’re an easy bunch to work with.” – We’ll take is easy while you do the work.
James Dyet, David Goetz, Brian Larson, Mark Galli, Richard Doebler and Jim Berkley in Leadership, Vol. 13, no. 4.