Cool idea

Apparently I was a little hard on search committees in my next to last post. So today, I'll tip the scales back in the other direction.

In the post on pastors' salaries, I mentioned the questionnaires that churches send prospective pastors, and how different they can be. And aside from asking a variety of questions, they tend to vary dramatically in length. They are a necessary part of the candidating process, because it's the easiest way to get a feel for the guy who wants to be your pastor, and to diagnose "big issues" before you develop any kind of connection with him at all.

From the candidate's perspective, it's kind of a daunting thing to have five or ten questionnaires on your desk that need to be returned in a timely fashion, because virtually none of the questionnaires asks simple "yes" or "no" questions. They take a lot of time and thought, and can be particularly daunting when the candidate doesn't feel he has any real chance of being hired at the church in question.

Several months ago, I filled out a one-hundred question questionnaire for a church, emailed it back to them, and recieved a reply within five minutes stating that they didn't agree with my answer to question #97, and wouldn't be considering me further. That can put a bad taste in your mouth for filling out long questionnaires... you wonder which question is #97 for the next church.

Today, I received a questionnaire from a church who is looking for a pastor to lead a new church plant. As I glanced through it, I saw that there were 89 questions on the survey, and immediately began to sense God's calling to a different church. And then, on the back page, was taped a Starbucks gift card and a hand-written note saying, "Chris, the first cup of coffee is on us. Thanks for taking the time to complete this."

It took five dollars, and less than five minutes to make me feel valued, and as though the search team appreciated the time it would take me to answer their questions. It really is the little things. Great work search team!