All UCC ministers must submit a validated UCC ministerial profile with a current criminal background check
Recently I worked with a pastor who described her experience and frustration of not being selected for several senior ministry positions after going through several layers of interviews and selection processes. Now she even dreaded going on an interview which she described as: "Going on a first date." This simple metaphor of dating quickly brought into focus her resistance about going for another interview and some of the difficulties she was having in finding a new position.
If the job interview is a first date, then she is picturing her ministry as a romantic entanglement with a congregation. Think of the implications and how often you have heard these expressions:
• I am always the bridesmaid
• The honeymoon is over
• I am married to the job
• I am divorced from the parish
It means that the job interview evokes all the anxieties and emotions of a date, and a first date at that, rather than the intellectual curiosity of exploring professional possibilities.
The solution was also simple: This client loves to walk. Seeing the search process as: "taking a walk" with the interviewers, "walking through various options," makes profound sense to this client and it evokes her curiosity rather than her anxiety. In her discernment she can simply ask:
• "Would I like to walk with these people?"
• "Would walking with these people be life-giving for me and for them?", or
• "Would we just stumble around and get lost?"
How are you defining the search process? Think about what you deeply love to do, especially those simple things like reading, walking, cooking, etc. that brings you deep satisfaction. What would it be like to reframe your search process as an opportunity to engage in what you love to do and explore whether the essence of what you love to do would be welcome in this congregation. If it would not be welcome or wouldn't be life-giving: leave! This is not the congregation for you.