Saturday, April 09, 2005


When I have gone through the candidacy process before, things have gone quite differently than they have this time around. A while back in an update on the status of our (currently suspended) candidacy, I mentioned a few letters I received explaining the circumstances surrounding their search. These letters represent a stark contrast to previous experiences.

In each of these letters, there was a tone of respect and an attitude of consideration that I have not seen before in the candidacy process. It was prominent enough to cause both Marcie and me to comment on the difference between a search for an ordained-- or ordainable-- pastor (perhaps especially a solo pastor) and a search for a non-ordained youth minister.

In the past, it has been the utter antithesis of this. Churches in the past (when we were looking for a position in youth ministry) showed respect only occasionally, and only if they remained interested me as a potential hire. We might hear from a church, or we might not-- and this was not relative to their expressed interest in us. We had a church call us for a second phone interview after not hearing from them for several months. One church owed us money for plane tickets to come to the interview, and they conveniently “forgot” that they had not paid us-- right around the same time that they decided they weren't going to hire me; it took a phone call from me to finally get a check in the mail. And right after an in-person interview, a pastor at one church actually looked me in the eye and told me he would call me in a few days; I never heard from him again.

But this round has proven to be quite different. Whether it is the position I'm applying for (solo pastor vs. youth minister), the status of my qualifications (finishing an M.Div. and ordainable vs. having only a B.A. and not ordainable), or life-stage I'm in (33 at graduation, married with chidren vs. being in my 20s and recently married), something has changed-- and I don't think it is simply the fact that I'm talking to different churches.

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