This is a fine line to walk. We have to maintain confidentiality about the identity of the candidates in the search process. But, we all agreed that we want to disclose as much as possible about what is going on to the full church. So, with that in mind, I want to update you on what has happened over the last couple of weeks.
I should say that both candidates are wonderful people and will make great pastors somewhere. However, as I think I said here earlier, we view the search process as more of a search for a mate than a search for an employee. And, not every "qualified" person can be your spouse. It's important that we "get" each other. It's important that we share values and a vision. The other things can be worked out. One candidate seemed like a really good fit while the other was not a fit.
The conversations were different in tone. Both were enjoyable. But, contrasted against each other, it became clear which candidate was the better fit. With one candidate, it was very "conversational". S/he answered our questions in depth without being too verbose, was eager to share and really seemed to "get" Nexus. The answer to the question "Why did you choose the ministry as a second career?" was both unexpected and original. When we asked a question like "How would you grow membership at Nexus?" rather than spouting off a pat answer like s/he knows everything, this person began asking us questions about us and what we are doing now. That was an impressive sign of maturity. This person seems genuinely enthused about Nexus. When it was time for him/her to ask his/her questions, there was only one. I don't recall the exact wording. But, it was something along the lines of "What does it mean to follow Jesus?" When we asked for clarification, he asked what excites us about following Jesus. No business stuff. No question they teach you in interviewing school. This was a question about ministry and discipleship (what you'd hope to get from a minister). We went around the table and answered the question individually. It is obvious this person doesn't consider ministry a "job" or our talk an "interview". S/he is looking for a place to be in community with other believers doing ministry. Refreshing!
The other conversation was more guarded. The answers to our questions were just not resonating with us as much and when the time came to ask us questions, the questions were more about the nuts and bolts of Nexus and about our history more than where are going and our vision. Again, nothing wrong with the questions. They were all legitimate questions that a wise person would want to know the answers to. But, in contrast with the other candidate, our choice was clear.
At this point, we are down to only one candidate under consideration. All candidates have been informed of our decision. Of course, we do not know how things will work out with our finalist. But, if it does not work out, we will have to review additional profiles. The committee is committed to not "settling". Once we have eliminated a candidate from consideration, we will not go back and choose that person just because no one better has come along. We think that's what the people of Nexus would want and what we need.
Pray for wisdom and discernment for us as we undertake this momentous task in the history of Nexus.