The “charge” is also a critical part of the search process. The “charge” to the search committee must do several things:
1) Commission committee members for this important work and help them understand how the future of the congregation will be impacted by it;
2) Define the parameters of what the committee is being asked to do (e.g., search for candidates rather than make a selection; provide the elders with one or more candidates meeting certain criteria within a particular time-frame);
3) Specify the relationship of the elders’ to the committee during the search process (e.g., monthly progress reports … run communications with the congregation by the elders prior to distribution)
Here is a sample charge from elders to the search committee:
As your spiritual shepherds, and deeply aware of the importance of the task you have embraced as a member of our Search Committee, we give you this charge:
- Work hard and cooperatively. Few decisions will impact the health of our church more than this one. We need your best effort and best character.
- Consecrate yourselves spiritually for the task ahead. Keep your life pure so your heart can stay open to the voice of God.
- Pray daily—individually and as a team—that you will find the minister that God has chosen to serve us as our next Senior Minister.
- Conduct the process in a manner that represents our congregation (both internally with our own members and externally with the candidates and others this search process will introduce you to) as holding to the highest standards of integrity and excellence.
- Respect the necessary confidentiality of a process like this.
- Communicate in a timely and informative manner to leadership, staff and membership regarding the search process, respecting the appropriate confidentiality issues.
- Involve leadership, staff and membership in this search process as appropriate and when the time is right.
- Make a formal report of the committee’s progress to the elders on a monthly basis
- Assemble input from all elements of the congregation for the purpose of compiling a capabilities and attributes profile for the senior minister.
- Seek external recommendations of the highest caliber and credibility regarding potential fits for this position.
- Identify a pool of high-potential ‘short-list’ candidates supported by a complete vetting process and recommendations from multiple external sources.
- Bring to the elders a single candidate with a unanimous recommendation for hiring pending a successful on-site interview process.
- Complete the search process by ________________.
As your shepherds, we want you to know that we trust and respect you, that we will be praying for you, and that we are anticipating the blessings God is going to bring to our church through your work.