Whatever staff position you and your husband serve in your church (or have served in), chances are you probably worked with a Search Committee. Members of the committee who brought you into a church can be some of your best partners in your ministry.
Embrace them! They are your allies. These people are already invested in you. Within the work of the Holy Spirit, they are responsible for you being called there, and they want you to be successful.
If there are things you need, such as a recommendation for a plumber or babysitter, call one of your Search Committee members. They will be happy to help your family, and it will cultivate a healthy connection. When we moved to our most recent church, I needed to wash clothes before our washing machine was delivered. I asked a lady if I could use her washer, and a warm relationship began as we chatted on her couch. She helped me get oriented to our new church while the clothes spun.
Search Committee members can also help you navigate the church landscape. Let's be honest – there are some potholes out there.
These particular people were probably elected to this committee because they are trusted and respected members of the church. Without gossiping, they can help lead you and your husband through new territory and enable you to discern who needs what, for the growth of God's Kingdom.
Continue the relationship. Soon after you arrive at your new church, ask the committee members over for a simple meal or dessert. They will connect with you best in your own home.
Each year, in the month of your "anniversary" at the church, invite them over. This is probably the smartest thing David and I ever did. Our yearly gatherings with our Search Committee members and their spouses solidified us as a team, and they remained our friends and advocates. At these dinners they reminisced and told stories about the search process and their travels together, and David and I told about what we were going through from our side of the process. It was a bonding time we all looked forward to each June.
Even if you have been in your church a while, contact your committee members and say, "Hey, we noticed it has been three years (or five, or seven … ) since we came to the church. Come over to our house for some burgers."
God works in mysterious ways, and sometimes it is through a Search Committee!
Kathleen Hardage, wife of Executive Director David Hardage, recently retired from her career as a teacher in public schools. She and David have been in the ministry since 1981, and she loves the life. Kathleen and David have two children, John and Rebekah, daughter-in-law Melissa, and granddaughter Anne Marie. They are a family of sports fans. Kathleen also loves history, reading and teaching in a weekly Bible study.