Saturday, October 6, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m a Senior Pastor and we are looking for a proficient African-American XP. We don’t know where to go to find good candidates. Can you help?

DRF—It is so nice to hear from you. I went to the church website and loved what I saw. It looks like God has given a tremendous ministry to you!

There are at least six ways to do a search to find a quality candidate. Before I get to that, let me address the specifics of your search. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has rules that apply to hiring staff who are not pastors. As for pastors, the HRExaminer website notes:

“After an exhaustive discussion of the tension between Church and State beginning with the Magna Carta, the Court decided that churches should be able to pick whomever they want in ‘conveying the Church’s message and carrying out its mission.’ Under the First Amendment, churches have that freedom, even if it’s decision is based on discriminatory factors that are unrelated to the religious beliefs.” 

You may be within the law by looking for an African-American executive pastor. However, you may not want to be a church that searches for and hires only African-American pastors. What if an ideal African, Hispanic or Anglo pastor was a candidate? While you may have a preference for someone who understands the culture of the African-American experience, I would suggest that you be open to a candidate of any race.

I recommend that in your opportunity profile for the position, ask for candidates to have an understanding and experience in the African-American church.

As to your question, there are at least six methods for hiring someone with African-American church experience:

  • Hope for great candidates to simply “appear.” This is the weakest method for finding a great person to fill the position.
  • Look within your congregation for a person with business experience and a pastoral heart. For the XP role, about half of all XPs come from within the church.
  • Contact universities and seminaries. Ask for the position to be posted on their job search page.
  • Contact other churches. Ask if their church leadership knows of competent people to recommend. 
  • Post the position on XPastor. We have a large following through the website, e-newsletter and social media. Many XPs find positions in this way.
  • Enlist the help of a professional search firm. While this is the most expensive route to follow, you get a search professional to help you find the right XP.

One of the most important characteristics of a good XP is the trust that they have with the SP. You want someone who understands you, can represent you, and that you trust to help lead the church.

God’s best to you in your search. Please keep me informed of how it goes!