An Interview with William Vanderbloemen on Pastoral Succession

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with William Vanderbloemen, the founder and CEO of the Vanderbloemen Search Firm, to discuss his new book, “Next: Pastoral Succession that Works.” Every pastor is an interim pastor and succession planning is one of the most critical issues facing the church in America over the next decade. In partnership with Co-author Warren Bird, Director of Research at Leadership Network, William has brought the experience and the research together to provide churches and pastors with an incredible resource to help them navigate succession planning!  You can follow this link to get your own copy of this newly released book! Check out the interview below!

Free Resource: The First 5 Commandments of Pastoral Succession Planning


Posted in Leadership, Staffing


How to Manage the Tension between Work and Rest


In the beginning, even before the fall of mankind, God created both work and rest (you can check out Genesis 1-3 for all the details). Both were helpful, both were holy, and both were enjoyed by and benefited man. After the fall of mankind everything was messed up, including mankind’s ideas and inclinations about work and rest. This tension still plagues us today, including church leaders. Our tendency in different seasons of leadership is to lean into one or the other more than we are designed to. And if not caught early it can do damage to our souls and ultimately the ministries that we are charged with leading.


  • Personal ambition: When our ambition for growth as church leaders surpasses our ambition for God, there’s a problem.
  • High Expectations: When fast-charging and high-driving church leaders have set their vision and expectations higher for themselves and their ministries than God does, there’s a problem.
  • Selfish Gain: When we become consumed by our work and our identity as church leaders becomes rooted in our work rather than in God, there’s a problem.


  • Discouragement: When church leaders fall into discouragement and shrink back because things aren’t going the way they think they should be going, there’s a problem.
  • Emotional Weight: When church leaders pick up and begin to carry the emotional weight of the team, the outcomes of the vision, and the expectations of people in the church, there’s a problem.
  • Laziness: When church leaders over spiritualize the concepts of faith and dependency upon the Holy Spirit to work and avoid working hard themselves, there’s a problem.

When our hearts call too much for one or the other, something is off in us. We’ve been chasing after something that we were never intended to pursue. It should be an indicator to us that it’s time to return to the mission and return to God.

Photo Credit: CyboRoZ via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


5 Reasons I Would Never Hire You


Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to hire a lot of people. Student Ministry Pastors, Campus Pastors, Children’s Pastors, Worship Pastors, Executive level roles and Administrative roles. I’ve run the searches myself and used an Executive Search Firm. I’ve even had the opportunity as a consultant to help other churches find their right next hire. Hire the right person and the whole team benefits. When you invite the right person to join your team not only is there is an infusion of new talent, but also new ideas, fresh eyes, and a new well of experiences to go to. One new hire can make the entire team better. On the other hand, hire the wrong person and you can pay a price you weren’t prepared to pay. While at first pass this post may come off as negative, the goal I can assure you, is to be helpful. I’ve had to say no to more people than I’ve said yes to. My hope is that this post will help move you in the direction where you’d hear me, or someone else, say yes to you in the near future.

1. Attitude

Your attitude is more valuable than your aptitude. You can learn skills, and talent can be developed, but attitude is one of those things you either have or you don’t. I want you to come in and help make the team better, and a bad attitude or critical spirit never makes the team better.

2. Track Record

I’m not all that impressed by big talkers. Sales pitches usually don’t work on me. So don’t try and impress me and sell me on what you’re going to do. Show me what you’ve done. And while it doesn’t necessarily need to be “big,” it does needs to have been done well and there needs to be a track record of progressive responsibility. Over and over and over again…all throughout the Bible when people who have been faithful with the little they’re given, they are then are given an opportunity to be faithful with more.

3. Creative Problem Solving

Please don’t think that when you finally arrive in a large church that you’ll finally have the resources you wish you had in a smaller church you were serving in. Like a lot of things, resource challenges often scale. You need to have a proven track record of resourcefulness. Instead of being frustrated at resource challenges or other potential issues learn to live on the solution side of every problem. Develop an eye for opportunity and improvement not a critical spirit that tears people and ministries down.

4. High E.Q.

You’ve got to demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence if you’re going to be very successful in ministry over the long haul. Relationships are both the glue and the grease that make work happen in the workplace. And at the end of the day if you don’t like to and don’t want to be around people, you’re going to have a pretty tough time in local church ministry.

5. I Actually Like You

This may seem like the shallowest one on the list, but it may just be the most important factor in any hire. The reason why is chemistry and culture. While I’m not paying you to be my friend, friendship is an incredibly high value on my team. You see if I can’t picture you getting along with the team and me, if I can’t picture hanging out with you, if you don’t have a similar DNA to the team your joining then chances are you don’t belong on the team.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Simms Photography via Compfight cc

Posted in Staffing


The Art of Difficult Conversations


If you lead a team long enough, eventually there are going to be some difficult conversations that are going to happen. No one wants to have difficult conversations, there’s nothing fun about them. But if you care about the team and if you care about your teammates then eventually someone is going to need to be confronted. It could be poor work ethic, breaking organizational values, underperformance, misrepresenting the organization, or it could even be a moral or ethical problem just to name a few. But who is the right person to have that difficult conversation when it needs to happen?

1. Who has built the most Trust?

Whoever has the most trust with the individual being confronted needs to lead out in the conversation. If there is any shot at the team member hearing what is being said and responding well to the challenging conversation there must be a foundation of trust. They must know that you care for them, that you believe in them, and that your intentions are pure (otherwise you wouldn’t be having the conversation). Trust gives you the latitude to have a difficult conversation and expect a great response.

2. Who are they going to hear from?

If you care about keeping the team member think about who is going to be the most clear with them in the conversation. I’ve seen countless times when a supervisor confronts or coaches a team member and the two walk away with very different versions of the situation due to the inability of, or discomfort that the supervisor had with clearly delivering challenging news. Clarity is king in confrontation. Make sure whoever is going to say it, says it clearly.

3. Who are they going to respond to?

The goal of confronting a team member is not to have them leave the team. That’s not confrontation or coaching, that’s called firing someone. The goal of confronting a team member is to have them respond in a positive manner to a negative behavior or situation. The goal is behavioral change right? So whom are they going to respond the best to? Let that person have the difficult conversation.

Last Thought: While ideally the team member’s supervisor would be the person who fits these three criteria, that’s not always the case (for a myriad of reasons). So sometimes having someone else in the room leading much of the conversation other than the supervisor isn’t such a bad idea.

Photo Credit: jetheriot via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


How to Identify Young Leaders in the Church


Do a quick Google Search and you’ll find volumes written about this next generation entering the workforce. Much of it is written from a negative perspective. The search will tell you that this generation is entitled, lazy, they don’t follow through and they can’t be trusted with real responsibility. This trend has great implications for the modern day church. And while the researchers might be right, I still believe that there are great up and coming leaders in the next generation taking their place in the church today. Two reasons stand out and have convinced me.

#1 God has a mission for His Church. I’m convinced God is going to resource that mission and give his bride the Church everything she needs to see it through, which includes giving the church spiritual leaders.

#2 We need to do the hard work of looking for them. If God is going to do the work of resourcing His Church with the next generation of leaders, then it falls to us identify, develop and train them to take their place.

So, to that end here are 7 things to look for when identifying young leaders in the church:

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Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing
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