Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On your mark, get set . . .

If you're thinking this might be the year to make a move, then now is the time to start getting ready. Some suggestions:

Pray.

Given the random and arbitrary nature of the process, it's easy to stress about pastoral placement. That's why you need to remember Who Is In Charge of It All -- and there's no better way to do that than prayer. So talk with God. Be specific and honest -- and don't be afraid to tell Him about those grandiose ambitions you've never dared to share with anyone else. (Just be prepared to listen too!)

Talk over the idea of moving with your spouse -- and listen to what she says.

This is the best way I know to clarify motives, establish priorities, and find gaps in logic. When I was looking over some calls last year, for instance, my wife pointed out that:
a) moving just before our daughter's Senior year in high school was not a good idea.
b) moving in the middle of a building project was not a good idea.
c) moving a long ways from my parents (who are certainly not getting any younger) was something I've repeatedly said would not be a good idea.
Granted, I might have figured out this on my own -- but my wife certainly sped up the process.

Establish your "deal-breakers."
Flexibility is good, but you need to be honest about the things you're not ready to handle at this time. In my case, that means "not too far from my parents" and "no more building projects." In your case, that may mean "must have an elementary school" or "not more than four churches in the district."

Look in the mirror.
Sad but true -- nothing says "loser" to a search committee like someone who needs to lose 20-pounds. If you've been meaning to start exercising and eating right, in other words, now would be a good time. And yes, this is also a good time to update your wardrobe.

Brush up your resume.
To be honest, most search committees won't depend on this nearly so much as they do on word of mouth -- but it's good to be ready, just in case. (For ideas on how to do this, click here.) Then too, there's nothing like a quick review of where you've been to suggest where you might like to go from here.

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