In the past few years I’ve had far too many interviews. Sadly, I’m not alone. One of the things that I heard on the radio some time ago has stuck with me. The talk radio host (sports radio no less) was talking about the book From Good to Great. He mentioned that there is the guy who is good at getting the job, and the guy who is great at the job. Often they are not the same guy. Some people are really good at interviewing, but not very good at doing the job. Some are not so good at interviewing, but quite good at the job. I can identify with that thought.
I’ve often thought that looking for a new pastoral position was a lot like dating. Some guys are good at getting girls, but not so good at being a husband. Many guys are not good at getting girls, but good at keeping them and are good husbands. This much is clear from the movie Swingers. Mikey was not so good at getting the girls. But he was much better at relationships than his friend who only knew how to pick them up.
I’ve come to believe there are a number of guys who are good at getting pastoral positions. They are witty, charming and creating the illusion of intimacy. But they are not wired for the long haul, of building true intimacy and pastoring a church. I fear that too many search committees are not good at telling the difference. This would explain, in part, why so many pastors don’t stay long at their positions.
Churches can often act like insecure women, wanting the guy who will gush over them rather than making an honest, balanced assessment. It is as if they expect every applicant to “feel called” to be their pastor. That expectation sets men up for emotional devastation each time they are rejected. It is hard enough to deal with the rejection, but to build such an emotional attachment is unhealthy in the long run.
When I write my book to assist search committees, I’m going to mention this as an important factor to finding a new pastor. References from people whom they have pastored and with whom they are served are possibly more important than the interview. They will let you know if the applicant can build meaningful relationships, the relationships necessary to being a good pastor in most churches.
I was the guy who wasn’t good at getting the girl. CavWife will probably tell you that I’m much better at being a husband than I was wooing her. I often feel the same way with churches. To spend 9 years someplace you have to have made relationships for the long haul. I wonder if some of the churches I’ve applied to have passed on guys good at the job to call a guy who is merely good at getting the job.
Am I wrong about this (big picture, not Cavman-specific)? What have you observed in pastoral searches? I’d like to know, and you might even end up in my book.