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Understanding the Hiring Process from a Minister's Perspective


Over the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of ministers about the Minister Hiring Process. For the most part, their reactions are something like, “I really appreciate what you are doing. This is something that the church has needed for a long time.” Many of them are speaking from the heart because they have been frustrated with what they have seen in their own job searches.

Understanding and addressing these frustrations could easily be what makes your congregation stand out to quality candidates who have other lines in the water, so we want to address a few of the most common frustrations and concerns that have been voiced to us.


Just as any professional would, a minister expects clarity in what will be expected of him or her. Unfortunately, what they get from many job descriptions is only a vague understanding of what they will be doing, what their compensation will be, what age groups they will be working with, etc. Why is that? Chances are, the congregation may not have a clear idea of these things either.

Effective planning should be top priority for search committees and elders who expect to locate and attract quality candidates. What would a candidate want to know before applying for your position? Clarifying these things up front and effectively communicating them to the search committee and to potential candidates is absolutely essential to a successful minister search.

Structure and Transparency

One of the most appreciated elements of our process is the structure and transparency it provides. There are set application deadlines, set meeting dates for the search committee, and the candidates know when they will be hearing from us again. It tells the candidate that your congregation is taking its search seriously.

Most of your candidates will have at some point experienced a disorganized search process where they could plainly see that the congregation did not have a clear agenda. The general attitude of minister searches is that of “We will wait it out until we’re happy with what we have.” It is a very frustrating thing for a minister to wait and wait and wait and not know where they stand. If your minister search has a structure that is clearly visible to all candidates, your finalists may be drawn to your congregation over others they may be considering simply because of your organization and transparency.


Lastly, confidentiality is crucial. If a candidate’s current congregation finds out second-hand that he or she is looking elsewhere, this could potentially create a very awkward and embarrassing situation for the candidate. The good news is that with the internet, you can get pretty much all the information you need from a candidate without putting their privacy at risk. Documents can be emailed, sermons can be uploaded, and interviews can be done remotely without anyone knowing about it except the candidate and your search committee.

For the finalists that you want to meet in person, bring them in for a private visit with your search committee rather than having them preach for your congregation on Sunday. You should already have sermon material from them if it is a pulpit minister search, so there is no need for a public audition. The visit is just to get to know the candidate better and to help the candidate decide whether he or she would want to live and work there. Since this can be accomplished in the matter of a day, the candidate can return to their duties on Sunday at their current congregation. Even if the search committee members find it necessary to visit the candidate’s current congregation after this, make sure that they do not do anything that would draw attention to the reason for their visit.

A good rule of thumb when searching for a minister is just to treat your candidates as you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. All the things I’ve mentioned above would be desired in any job search, not just ministry. Your candidates will be extremely appreciative when they can see this clarity, structure, and confidentiality in your search and hiring process.

Don't just take our word for it; see our testimonials here.

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I was grateful for the guidance of Minister Match through the complex and time-intensive search process. John was responsive, supportive and knowledgable. Communication was excellent and flexible around my availability as a volunteer search ...
Brandon Clark - Youth Minister Search Committee Chairman, Mesa Church of Christ
Minister Match did an excellent job connecting me with a congregation that I would not have known about otherwise.  Don Viar did an excellent job representing my concerns to the search committee and did an excellent job communicating their concerns ...
Drew Baker - Preaching Minister, South Fork Church of Christ
I strongly encourage ministers to take advantage of the expertise of the folks at Minister Match to help put together a high quality resume. They will help you identify strong points you didn't even know you have! I am extremely satisfied with the ...
Joel Shelton - Commerce Church of Christ
It was a great process for me. Minister Match did a good job of keeping confidentiality in collecting information, and the communication process was very clear. The staff was very easy to deal with and very helpful. Overall the experience was very ...
Joel Soumar - Youth Minister, Mesa Church of Christ
We would like to thank you for your efforts to make the minister hiring process simple and well defined. The congregation here has not been through the minister hiring process in sixteen years and had little experience left for trying to do so. We ...
Jim Burdette - Elder, Frederick Church of Christ
The candidate pool for our need was something we had to work to develop but Don was insistent we wait for God's guidance and let it fill up when our human nature wanted to start right away. This served us well since our best qualified candidate ...
Jon Bouley - Family Minister Search Committee Chairman, Mesa Church of Christ
Minister Match connected me with a church, had the details for every aspect of the process already taken care of, and communicated well. It was a very easy process, and now I am a youth minister in Miami, Florida!  I was very impressed with the ...
Sam Wilson - Youth Minister, Sunset Church of Christ
Our Search Committee is so grateful that we used Minister Match when we needed to hire our new Youth Minister. Minister Match assisted us in recruiting many serious candidates (over 30) that fit what our congregation was looking for. The ...
Jorge Acebo - Search Committee Chairman, Sunset Church of Christ
We had a very good experience with Minister Match.  This was not the first time we had searched for a minister, but it was the first time we used a search firm.  Our experience with Minister Match was a complete success.  In previous searches, we ...
Jim Holway - Minister, Sunset Church of Christ
The process was well marketed and we were provided ample information to help explain the steps to the congregation.  The book that accompanied the information was very valuable and I referred to it often during the process.  As the search team ...
Bill Gaw - Search Committee Chariman, Waterford Church of Christ

Contact Information

Minister Match
410 South Lowe Avenue
Cookeville, TN 38501

ABC Blocks

Your congregation has just hired a minister, and it seems like they are the perfect fit. Congratulations! There is one more step to the process, though, and it is just as important as the process of finding the right minister. You might have heard people refer to how the “first hundred days” of someone’s job usually sets the tone for their entire career with that organization. The same is true with ministers. Just as your congregation is going through a major transition, so is your new minister. The first few months of a job are a stressful time, and it is the job of the elders and search committee to help your new minister through their transition.

We refer to this as the “On-Boarding Stage.” Since the “first hundred days” is so important to the rest of a minister’s career with your congregation, we believe this stage is one of the keys to reducing minister turnover in the church. In this post, we want to talk about a few of the things that a new minister needs from their congregation during this transition period. We will refer to them as the ABC’s of the On-Boarding Phase.