Lead Pastor Search Update - October 2021

Lead Pastor Search Update - October 2021

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October 31, 2021

Read Chris’ blog that Pastor Gus mentioned in this video.


Last weekend, Governing Elders Chris Storms and Mike Kemp, joined by Pastor Gus, shared an update on where we are at in our Lead Pastor Search process. While this update is discouraging, we know that God is in control, and He has a plan for us. Our Governing Elders and members of the Pastor Search Committee answered some questions you may have. 

This is some tough news, but we appreciate the transparency. Does that mean we’re back at square one with everything? Are we waiting for new applicants, or are we revisiting some other candidates we’ve received previously?

Well, a little bit of both. We do have some other candidates that were unanimously agreed upon by the Lead Pastor Search Committee and the Elder Board. We are re-engaging those individuals now. But Slingshot has continued to send us new applicants, which we will review as we receive them.

So when we get a new applicant, what does that process look like for vetting them? Does it take a while?

We have definitely learned a lot through this process, and one of the things we’ve learned is what we’re looking for specifically. Thankfully, we’ve improved our process by making it more efficient and filtering out those that clearly wouldn’t be a good fit. Things like theological differences, not having experience leading a church of our size (or leading a staff of our size), etc. 

Of course, many conversations and prayers are present throughout the vetting process, but the vetting process begins with Slingshot. They receive their brief application (from the job listing online), followed by a pre-screening, and then two more in-depth applications are sent over (one for Slingshot and one for Northland). This part of the process can take 3-4 weeks.

At this point in the process, Slingshot will pass on candidates along with their profile (3-4 pages), both applications and a questionnaire from the wife (around 20 pages), and at least two sermons. We have 7-10 days to review that information and schedule the first interview.

We typically have four rounds of interviews with each candidate. In the third interview, we interview his wife. After the third interview, each member on the Pastor Search Committee rates the pastor individually. Then the entire Pastor Seach Committee and Governing Elders meet before moving to the fourth interview, followed by extending an offer.

We’ve been working hard to stay on budget and cut expenses. Since we’ve contracted Slingshot to conduct this search for us, are we concerned about paying more now that the search is taking longer than anticipated?

We paid Slingshot a flat, one-time rate at the beginning of this process, which won’t change, even if the process takes longer than anticipated. We also chose Slingshot because all of the people who work there are currently on staff at churches, so they know what to look for more than some of the other options.

Slingshot told us that an expected time frame for a lead pastor search would be 12-18 months? Aren’t we getting close to the end of that window?

Yes, Slingshot tells us that the average search usually lasts between 12-18 months. We began our search in August of 2020, and our first batch of candidates was received in November of 2020, so we are roughly 15 months into the search and 12 months into the interview process.

What are some of the requirements/qualifications we are looking for in our next lead pastor?

The Succession Planning Committee created the job description for this role, and there are six core competencies we are looking for specifically:

  1. Communication Ability: How well does this person connect, inspire, and grow people through preaching and teaching?
  2. Leadership Experience: How well does this person envision the future, make tough decisions, hire, fire, raise funds, build and lead teams?
  3. Demonstrated Performance: How well has this person led, excelled, and sustained success in similar ministry environments?
  4. Personal Chemistry: How much did I like this person the moment I met them or heard them speak?
  5. Culture Fit: What are the chances of long-term success at our church? Is this person a fit demographically, geographically, theologically, philosophically?
  6. Personal Stability: How well does this person lead themselves and their family? How well does this person build and maintain friendships?

Questions? Email us at questions@northlandchurch.net. Danny Gordon, our elder board chairman, is committed to following up individually with anyone that has questions. You can email him at the address on the screen. He’s also open to meeting with people one-on-one if needed. We’re here for you.

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