I shall always prize a man from a church in southern Illinois. He was the chairman of a pastor search committee, and he came to visit with me prior to arranging an interview for the whole committee. He attended our church (in a major metropolitan area). He had lunch in our home (in a large suburb). At the end of the weekend, he asked, "How long do you think you could live in a community of 5,000 people?" We ended the process there.
What I appreciated about this man is what I would like to see more often in the search process: he knew his church and his community, he took time to learn about me, and he did it in person.
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
Then why do so many search committees approach the task like a posse rounding up train robbers? These deputized amateurs mean well, but they often show the finesse of Gabby Hayes. Their work should be stealth-like, but everybody in town knows what they're doing. There's no way seven strangers can sneak into a worship service unnoticed. And ...1