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Conflict to Collaboration

Clergy Search Manual

Assessing Skills and Discerning Calls

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What Clients Say

Rob Voyle was invaluable to making our search process a success. He led the committee members in Appreciative Inquiry exercises to build up the relationships of the team members and to begin to articulate some common understandings of the core values of our diocese.

Rob coached us to keep a clear perspective of what we had discerned as the skills and gifts necessary for our next bishop and to let this guide our work. He was also at the other end of the telephone or email when specific issues came up that would be helped by his experience and knowledge.

Joanna Shreve, Co-Chair Diocese of El Camino Real Bishop Search Committee

Rob's combination of organizational savvy, teaching skills, theological & spiritual integration, and ability to rapidly build supportive, learning communities is quite simply the best in any of the churches today.
Gray Temple, Episcopal Priest, Author & Coach

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Why Don't We Use Surveys Anymore?


Because We Have Found a Better Way To:

  • Engage all parishioners in Storytelling not Data Gathering
  • Energize parishioners in the Pursuit of Purpose and Vision
  • Use the Transition Time for Development and not just Searching
  • Have a Lot of fun doing God's Work!
       Purchase Subscription to the Online Search Resources 

Why We Don't Use Surveys Anymore

Listen to Rob Voyle describe why we don't use surveys anymore

Play Audio: Listen To Audio File

Christianity did not flourish because 11 people in an upper room took an anonymous vote
and 10 voted for the resurrection.
Christianity flourished because people shared their stories about meeting the risen Christ
and how he had transformed their lives.

Download One Page Handout: Why We Don't Use Surveys Anymore

Many years ago we developed and offered computer software called Parish Survey to take all the grunt work out of developing and collating a congregation-wide survey. Over the years we have discovered the many shortcomings of surveys:

  • Surveys create data, that leaders may find interesting but data won't motivate or transform parishioners and their ministries.
  • Surveys create the illusion of involvement and hearing from people. But their is nothing engaged about completing an anonymous survey.
  • Surveys don't change lives, either individually or corporately.
  • People and their opinions can never be reduced to marks on a check box.
  • Most congregations are too small to generate comparative "between group" statistics.
    and our biggest complaint about surveys
  • Surveys violate one of the core values of being a Christian: We are known by Name.

    One of things that clergy and church leaders detest are anonymous letters, that are often full of vitriol but offer no way to understand the nature of the complaint or how to fix the situation. These kinds of letters are destructive to the fabric of community and do not facilitate life and congregational vitality. At their core such anonymous comments violate the core values of Christian community.

    Creating anonymous surveys reinforces these behaviors that violate these core values. In the search process we need to reinforce behaviors such as community dialogue, where every voice is valued, if we are to create wise and loving outcomes.

    The path to our preferred future must be consistent with our preferred future. Just as we can't fight for peace, we can't create Christian community by encouraging anonymity.

Appreciative Inquiry: What We Use Instead of Surveys

We are now using Appreciative Inquiry processes to conduct information gathering as part of the search process.

>>   Read more about Appreciative Inquiry

Using an Appreciative Inquiry process as outlined in our Search Manual Assessing Skills and Discerning Calls will not only provide information for the search but will also enrich the current community functioning. Appreciative approaches will:

  • Provide rich experiences and information through shared storytelling.
  • Create shared ownership of the community's vision by engaging
    all the stakeholders in creating that vision.
  • Energize and motivate people to engage in creating their preferred future.
  • Focus attention of the congregation's ministries and what they want to accomplish
    and not simply on what they want their next pastor to do for them.

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