Saturday, June 25, 2005

Trying something different

Alright Eubanks, you're always barking about the need for better balance in the system-- so put your money where your mouth is.

Okay, I will.

As I candidate with the church that has my resume right now, I'm going to try something daring, unorthodox, and (to my ears) unheard-of in the placement process: I'm going to build a relationship with the church before things go anywhere with the candidacy process. Crazy, right?

I contacted this church initially by e-mail and got a warm response to my contact, along with the information that the Search Committee was meeting a few days later. So I contacted them again after that meeting to let them know I was praying for them (which is true) and inquire how the meeting went. I've already heard back from them.

The second response was warmer and more personal, and it gave me some insight into where they are with their search. They also told me when the next meeting is, and asked for my prayers. I hope to keep this exchange going throughout the process. Since they are not too far from St. Louis, I may even proactively pursue face-to-face meetings with one or more committee members (something casual like coffee or lunch).

As I think about doing this, it seems totally foreign to me; I don't think I know of anyone who has been proactive in their candidacy like this. But why not? To me, the benefits seem numerous, including:
  • You get to know them outside of a completely contrived atmosphere
  • They get to know you in the same way
  • You get to minister to them even as they are in the process of searching for a minister
  • It puts the element of contact back in neutral ground
  • You get exposure to that church in a way you never could otherwise
  • You get information about that church that you never could otherwise
  • If that church ends up extending a call to you, then relationships are already in place for ministry
  • If it doesn't extend a call to you, you've gotten to know more of the Church than you did before
I can't see any detriments, as long as I am careful not to be pushy about it. Can you?


Jim said...

Great concept, Ed! It sounds like alot of good can come out of your approach. Like you say, if they end up calling you, you go in with established relationships and also, even if they don't call you, networking is a powerful thing. You will have a good rapport with some of the leadership in that church and you never know where that could lead in the future, as you are serving in another church. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

Ed said...

Thanks for the affirmation, Jim. Of course, there is no way of accurately anticipating how warm or receptive a committee will be to that sort of communication. But considering that they responded as they did, I think this can only help me.