Chemistry Staffing is a new organization run by my good friends Todd Rhoades and Matt Steen. They help churches and potential staff members make healthy connections. Chemistry Staffing’s process has one goal: a long-term, healthy fit for both the church and the staff member.  Great things happen when the right leadership is in place in a local church… lives are changed and churches thrive.  If your church is looking to fill a staff position, I can’t recommend Chemistry Staffing enough.  These two guys are as good as it gets.  As a reader of this site, they are offering a FREE 30-minute consultation about your search for a great long-term fit. Don’t miss this!  A FREE phone conversation can only make your job search easier.  Click here to schedule a time.

The following is a guest post they have written about 3 Lessons On Finding The Perfect Senior Pastor:


Finding the right fit for a church’s open pastor position isn’t always a matter of checking off boxes or lining up a doctrinal statement. While we always advise churches to carefully evaluate the theology and spiritual practices of the pastors they hire, we’ve found too many cases where a church locked in a great candidate who had the right theology and a winning personality, but the candidate didn’t fit the culture, values, and ministry philosophy of the church.

How does a church make the right hire instead of hiring the candidate who appears to be the “best” candidate if theology alone isn’t an adequate criteria?

Who Matches Your Church’s Culture?

When interviewing a pastor for an open ministry position it’s easy to get caught up in the candidate’s experience and references. While these are essential parts of the interview process, don’t overlook the “cultural” fit of a pastor and a church. When a church is in a healthy place and is poised to grow over the coming years, maintaining a healthy culture can be especially important.

Simple tells can prove important in assessing a good cultural fit during an interview, such as being a good listener, showing up on time, and communicating clearly and succinctly. In the case of your particular church, consider what your staff and members actually value day in, day out from a pastor. Besides written values statements, take an honest look at how your church functions and what makes your ministry effective. Does the candidate fit into this culture?

Who Can Reshape Your Church’s Culture?

In the case of a church that is struggling, declining, or in danger of losing momentum, consider the ways your candidates can make the necessary changes. This is a very tall order for many candidates, and it may call for a wider search outside of the church itself.

Turning around or reinvigorating a ministry is no small matter, but in many cases a new pastoral hire can provide a new vision and get things moving in the right direction. Of course there are risks when it comes to changing a church’s culture and bringing in an outsider to intentionally disrupt a church. That’s why these candidates need to be especially talented at communicating with members.

Who Shares Your Church’s Ministry Philosophy?

Beyond the basic qualifications and theological requirements for ministry, a pastor needs to have the same ministry philosophy and priorities. For instance, a pastoral candidate who is a talented preacher may be extremely impressive during a visit to a church, but if a church is seeking to increase its outreach emphasis, that candidate may struggle.

A church in need of more outreach may look for a candidate who specializes in networking and building relationships outside of the church. By the same token, a church that struggles to put together a Sunday morning service may need a pastor who can create stability and higher standards.

Let’s Talk about Your Pastor Search

Regardless of your church’s situation, you recognize that hiring the right person will have significant impact on the ministry of your church for years to come. That’s why taking the time to understand what you are looking for from a cultural and philosophical perspective is so important. Developing clarity around culture and philosophy of ministry will be key to determining whether your next hire will be the right fit. This process can feel overwhelming at first, but my friend Todd Rhoades and I would love to help you get started. As a reader of Brian Dodd on Leadership, we’d love to have a conversation with you, free of charge. After learning a little bit about your church and the search, we can share some of what we have learned through helping churches navigate the hiring process. Interested? Click here to sign up for a free consultation.


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