Last week I touched on three things to remember when going in to interview for a position as a Youth Pastor. But I also think there are plenty of things to remember as those who are interviewing the candidates. I have been on search teams before and found that these three things can make it a lot easier to perform that task, as well as ensure a somewhat successful transition for the selected candidate. On the other end, as the one being interviewed, I wish a lot more search teams considered these points before beginning their search.
1.) Be Realistic
If you went over to churchstaffing.com or youthspecialties job bank, you would see plenty of churches in search of a Youth Pastor. You would also see a lot of churches who shout “Don’t apply!” Too many churches are unrealistic with their expectations, and for me at least, turn me off from even considering applying to their church. You may be a very healthy church of 100 people, but is it realistic for you to expect to find a Youth Pastor with a minimum of 10 years of experience and seminary trained, especially for a part time position? It’s unfortunate but its true, Youth Pastors with that much experience and training aren’t looking to go to a church of that size, because they more than likely are looking for bigger and better things. Secondly, are there really any youth pastors who would transplant their family and relocate to a new locale for a part time youth ministry position? Be realistic about what you can afford and what you can get. If you want the best of the best, than expect the best of the best, but be prepared to pay the price, Youth Pastors need to pay bills too.
2.) Be Open
If you want the candidate to be open, be open yourselves. You don’t need to go into all the dirt of why the last Youth Pastor left, but at least let the new guy know “these were the expectations we had that he hadn’t met” or whatever the case may be. You can be honest without scaring the new guy off, and again, just as with the candidate being open and real, it will make the partnership between the church and the candidate more successful to know any concerns before moving for the job.
Further, Be Open about your search, let them know the timetable, are you talking to other candidates? When should they expect to hear back from you? Sure they may forget about your church if you just never call them back, but come on, you are a Christian organization dealing with a brother in Christ, at least have the decency to e-mail them and let them know your pursuing other candidates. I had a friend turn down a position because he was waiting to hear back from a church he felt more in tune with. The church never contacted him back, and sure that other position may not have been what God called him to, but it still just goes to show, if your a Christian Organization, act like it. Don’t leave the candidates in limbo.
3.) Be Purposeful with your Questions
Obviously you want to get to know the candidate on a personal level because that is going to be a huge part of your decision, does he/she fit in your ministry context. But at the same time, you have a limited amount of time to gather as much information from your questions as possible, so be purposeful in the questions you ask. If Philosophy of Ministry is important to you, make sure you ask about that early on rather than skipping around on questions that may not effect your decision much. Get to the big questions first, and leave room for them to ask questions of you.