Many of you have been wondering about the timeline of our search for a new minister, so we wanted to take a moment to share the details with you.
There will be two basic phases of our work. The first phase will be coming up with a packet of information about Wildflower. This packet is called our “Congregational Record,” and its purpose is to give any potential ministers a good picture of who we are: what our values are, what our successes and struggles are, what kind of minister we’re looking for. This phase will last most of 2019 and will require much input from the congregation, through online surveys and in-person forums and workshops. Our deadline for submitting our Congregational Record is December 1, 2019.
Meanwhile, during this time period, ministerial candidates will be doing the same basic thing on their end — creating a packet of information about themselves which indicates their approach to ministry, their strengths and struggles, and what kind of church they’re looking for.
Beginning in January, 2020, all the information gets swapped, and we will spend the rest of our time in the second phase: selecting a candidate. This, too, will be a lengthy process, as we will begin with initial screening, phone interviews, and reference checks. At that time, our goal will be to decide on three “pre-candidates” who we will then invite to Austin during February or early March to meet in person and hear them preach at a neutral location (not at Wildflower). On March 19, 2020, we will make our offer to our first-choice candidate.
Assuming that person accepts our offer, they will then come to Wildflower for a “candidating week” sometime in April. At that time, they will meet our church leaders, preach at a worship service, and generally get acquainted with our congregation. During that time frame, we will also be negotiating the specifics of the contract and conducting a background check. At the conclusion of the week, the congregation will vote on the candidate at a specially-called congregational meeting.
To be clear, a healthy search process focuses on process, not results. We very much hope to be able to present a ministerial candidate to the congregation a year from now. But even if we do everything right, it may be that there just isn’t anybody who we feel would be a good fit for Wildflower. The UUA makes clear that it is better to recommend nobody than to recommend the wrong person. If we should come up empty-handed, the result will be that Wildflower will be lay-led for a year while we go through the search process a second time with a new search team and new ministerial candidates.
If you would like more information about the timeline of our search process and what to expect for the next twelve months, please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.