Search Update: Minister of Congregational Care

August 10th, 2007 • Category: Church News

1. Where are we in the search process?

We posted the position of Minister of Congregational Care on May 27 and the application period closed July 8. Applications are now being evaluated and interviews conducted. Nine applications were received from a wonderful array of candidates, some from our church, but most from across MCC and other denominations.

2. Who guides the search process?

In MCC’s system of church governance, the Senior Pastor is elected by the congregation, then empowered to hire staff in consultation with the Board of Directors, who are also elected by the congregation. Before a hiring decision is made, the Senior Pastor and the Board must reach consensus. This process is followed throughout our denomination, and has been used in all our past hiring decisions.

In MCC, the Senior Pastor serves as staff director and is accountable for staff performance. Thus, our hiring process is designed to give the Senior Pastor a strong voice in hiring decisions, while incorporating the oversight of the Board of Directors. This creates clear lines of accountability that contribute to organizational effectiveness.

Our process ensures that applicants undergo rigorous review by a staff director and Board members who have spent hours overseeing the personnel operations of the church and becoming familiar with applicants. Because our Board of Directors is responsible for oversight of church operations on an ongoing basis, they are intimately familiar with the staffing needs of the church and the strengths and weaknesses of the Senior Pastor, each staff member, and the overall staff team.

3. What will be the responsibilities of the Minister of Congregational Care?

The foremost responsibility will be to provide strategic leadership for our pastoral care ministries, our children’s ministries (nursery to high school), our parents and family ministries, and our “in-reach” ministry teams. Each of these critical ministry areas involves large groups of volunteers who must be recruited, trained, coordinated, nurtured, and supported. Thus, above all else, our Minister of Congregation Care must excel at spiritual visioning, leadership, and team building.

4. What are we looking for in a Minister of Congregational Care?

The last line in the prior answer captures it well: Above all else, we are looking for someone who excels at spiritual visioning, leadership, and team building. As our church continues to grow numerically, so does the cumulative ministry potential of our congregation. Already, we have hundreds of people with powerful spiritual gifts that God can use to do incredible things! Increasingly, the challenge for church staff is to find ways to encourage and support use of those incredible gifts. That requires staff with vision, leadership, and team building skills. The job of church staff is not to do all the work of the church; otherwise the potential of the church will be limited to the reach of those few individuals. The job of church staff is to inspire and equip all of us to use our own innate spiritual gifts to do God’s wonderful work. That kind of staffing strategy will give our church limitless potential! To pursue that kind of strategy, we must hire staff who are visionary leaders and top-notch team builders.

5. Must the Minister of Congregational Care be an ordained clergy person?

Ordination is a strong plus, but not an absolute requirement. The bottom line is: we are looking for the applicant that excels most at spiritual visioning, leadership, and team building. If that candidate is not yet ordained, we will expect her/him to move toward ordination. We are viewing this as a long-term hire. We are looking for someone who might end up serving our church for decades. Our goal is to secure the best possible long-term future for our church. If it takes a few years for the best candidate to gain full clergy credentials, so be it. In the meantime, she/he could still serve with distinction as our full-time Minister of Congregational Care. (We would have no shortage of ordained ministers to provide support as needed. In addition to Pastor Jeff, we already have five ordained clergy who are part of our congregation, plus ten commissioned Deacons.)

6. Going forward, what will our staff structure look like?

Many of us grew up in churches that had a classic Senior Pastor/Associate Pastor staff structure. Today churches are trending away from that model, especially churches that grow to 500 or larger. Those churches are moving toward a “team” structure. In that structure, each person on the team is a highly qualified professional that brings some type of critical expertise to the table. Some team members are ordained, some are not, but each is regarded as a “Minister” because each is responsible for providing spiritual leadership in some critical area. This is a huge trend in thriving churches today.

As our church continues to grow, it feels like it is time to move to this model. For example, our current budget calls for us to hire a Minister of Discipleship later this year. That will give us a chance to add yet another gifted spiritual leader to our staff. When a staff has multiple gifted Ministers, it no longer makes sense to have one “Associate Pastor.” In a team structure, each Minister brings her/his unique skills to the table, each participates in worship leadership (if gifted in that area), and each preaches occasionally (if gifted in that area). Thus, over time, we will see more, not fewer, staff participating in worship leadership. The end result will be a much deeper leadership base to secure the future of our church.

We welcome your feedback on the strategy outlined in this document. Please plan to attend the forum that will be held after each worship service next Sunday, August 19, or email your thoughts to pastorjeff@jesusmcc.org

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