And Another Thing…

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Attention Ministers

The congregation I attend is attempting to implement a new staffing model. We are at the beginning of the process. We currently have 4 positions to fill (Administration, Worship and Discipleship, Outreach and Involvement, and Youth).

I am curious as to what do’s and don’ts would be recommended by people who have been on the candidate end of this. I have some of my own from past experience, but I want to hear from others. What do you recommend that we do or don’t do in this process? Any feedback would be encouraged.

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Filed under: Faith and Religion, , ,

12 Responses

  1. john says:

    Odgie, are you involved in this process somehow? Send me a line…

  2. preacherman says:

    Odgie,
    Brother this is just my opinion.
    I don’t think that programs are going to work in the future.
    I am reading alot of the emerging chruch.
    Listen to Dan Kimball, “While many of us have been preparing sermons and keeping busy with the internal affairs of our churches, something alarming has been happening on the outside. What once was a Judeo-Christian worldview is quickly becomeing a post-Christian, unchurch, unreach nation. Tom Clegg and Ward Bird in their book Lost in America that the unchurched population of the United States in now the largest mission field in the English-speaking world and fifth largest globally. New Generations are arising around us without any Christian influence So we must rethink virtually everything we are doing in ministries.” The world believes brothe that Christianity is a man made religion. The world now believes Christians are close-minded judgemental people. Most believe Christians are arrogant to think they alone have the only true relgion. I believe that we as Christians and the church must do as Paul says in 1 Cor. 9:20;22 “To the Jews I become like Jew, to win the Jews. to those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law….To the weak I became weak to win the weak. I became all things to all men so that by all possible means I may same some.” Seeker friendly services need to change because the world has changed. Dan talks in his book that style of music is changing with this new generation. It is as he watched MTV he saw a differnce it wasn’t Rock N’ Roll Hype any more it was unplugged and accustic. One of the teens on Wed. night a teen came up to him and said, “I like this this and he said, this is spiritual.” I believe as minister we must emerge. We must change. I will talk more and more about with I think needs to be changed brohter.

  3. David B says:

    Just a few common sense suggestions, but I’ve learned that ‘common sense’ and churches do not always go hand in hand…I doubt most churches do many of these things…some may even seem impractical but if ministers are as important as we think, why not go the extra mile?

    1)Check references.

    2)Go visit your candidate where they are, if possible. Get a sense of how people respond to them after they’ve been at their church for however long it has been. Everybody loves the new minister…but some people have a way of wearing out their welcome very quickly. Wouldn’t it be good to know that?

    3)Keep in touch with them every step of the way, keep the process transparent, and by all means, be honest with them. Because churches seem to take 10x as long to hire somebody as a regular job, they are waiting for you over the course of several months. If you reject a candidate, tell them immediately so they can move on. Worst experience I ever had was with a congregation that flew me in for a weekend, went crazy over me while I was there, and then never contacted me again to let me know one way or another. I had to contact them (several times) to get an answer. I’d much rather be rejected quickly than have it strung out.

    4)Don’t use questionnaires (you know the type) with an eye towards making sure they agree with the general dogmatic stance of the congregation. The fact that you are bringing in fresh blood to do a job means that you want somebody with a different perspective, a different part of the body of Christ, to do his (or her) thing. Be thankful for those who see things differently than what is considered normal at your congregation.

    5)Make them spend a week at your congregation if possible (paid of course) and see what they would do during that time. Do they spend it sightseeing or do they learn more about the community that they are moving to? Get their evaluation of the community and church after a week.

    6)One of the best things they did for me where i’m at now is offer me a longevity bonus…while I’m not here for the money, and while this should never be a motivation for a minister, it lets the candidates know that they are serious about investing in them and their family for the long term.

  4. Trey Morgan says:

    One of the most important qualities to look for in a man is, “Are they teachable?” People who are teachable are willing to learn and not set in their ways.

  5. odgie says:

    John – I will let you know what is what, of course.

    Preach – good points, and I think that those principles are adaptable in multiple models

    Dave – I would hope that every church checks references! However, what kind of questions do you think we should ask?
    The rest of your suggestions are well-taken and I will forward them as is.

    Trey – This comment leads me to believe that you may have encountered ministers who are not teachable. I shudder at the thought of such a person weilding influence in a church.

  6. andy says:

    I have little insight to offer on this matter, but I would say not to let an otherwise excellent candidate be eliminated by some tradition that is either irrelevant or that’s importance is no longer understood by the congregation. Having been a member of some very conservative congregations, that seems to be a common mistake.

    Aside from that, as a Fairfax member I’d like to get to a situation where there’s at least some chance of actually interacting with the ministers the way you can with anyone else. For a while now, sheer numbers and amount of work put on the staff have made that impossible.

    (as you know I’ll be out for a while, I’ll read any response you make when I get back)

  7. preacherman says:

    I believe we must be missional. It is so important. We also remember that God wants that personal relationship with us.

  8. Kathi says:

    1. I agree with the “check references” comment, especially for anyone working with or near children. We had background checks done at the last place I worked (for the school) and even though I worked at the church, I came into contact with the kids enough that I qualified for a background check.

    2. I also think it is important to involve those who will potentially be working closely with the new employees in the conversations of hiring. This would include volunteers, not just staff. In Lutheran congregations, we have call committees – not sure if there’s an equivalent in your congregation?

    3. While I have appreciated a certain amount of “wining and dining” (except there was no wine), I learned from hindsight that it would have been better for there to be more honesty and less B.S. HOPEFULLY your candidates will also feel they have the ability to ask honest and open questions of you all (or “y’all” as the case may be :)).

    4. I’m assuming you have clear job descriptions written for these positions.

  9. odgie says:

    Andy, Preach, and Kathi – Good points all.

  10. Jerri Harrington says:

    Personally, I can follow any man (or woman) whose primary purpose in life is to glorify God in his or her life. I take seriously the scripture that says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” from Phil. 2. I think Philippians 2 would be a good text to pray over as we search for ministers. (I think all of us need to run that scripture by our lives every single day. Why do we do the things we do?) Maybe a good thing to do would be to visit the congregation of the candidate and ask random members how the minister lives among them….as a servant in humility? Does he preach to himself first? The greatest ministers I have ever experienced have been servants. They would be seen picking up trash and talking to members who often get overlooked. I can follow the teaching of someone who does that. Also, along the lines of Preacherman’s comment, I am also concerned about the thinking of the newest generation of adults. I have heard the comments he quoted coming out of the mouths of a couple of my own sons. I think if we appear arrogant, we need to tie on the towel of the servant and kneel before our Father more than we are. It is not about having all of our t’s crossed and our i’s dotted–it is about living our lives in such a way that men can see our good deeds and glorify God! That only happens if we are servants…beggars trying to help other beggars find bread.

  11. dannydodd says:

    In addition to what has been offered…

    Don’t drag things out with a candidate. I have never understood or appreciated the “preacher parade” mentality. It is not fair to the person being considered.

    Don’t play salary games. Fix the boundaries before the search begins- include flexibility and communicate openly about this with those applying.

    Obviously consider the chemistry with other staff members. It is my opinion that all staffers should have input in the hiring process- not as the last word of course, but they will have to all work and pray together.

  12. odgie says:

    Danny, Kathi, and Jerri – All good points that I hope have been covered. Regardless, I will forward them on. Thnaks for kicking in.

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