2014 will bring new things! For one, we are beginning the process of listening for new staff members. The search committees, along with the aid of the Personnel Committee, will formulate job descriptions and expectations that we will have of these individuals. You will get a chance to vote on those job descriptions.
Now let me ask you to consider the other side of church/staff relationships. What does a new staff member need from us? Having made four moves as a member of a church staff, let me share with you some of the struggles and hopes that a potential staff member might have.
First, remember that although this is your home and you have found your niche here, this will potentially be a brand new place for a staff member. So we wonder, will the people there accept me, gifts and warts, and will they welcome me into their homes and community? This may sound crazy, but if you are not from here, beginning a new life here in Clinton can be scary. Our new staff members will need open arms from us and welcoming spirits. It is more than just shaking their hand on a Sunday. In some cases, these individuals and families may have moved a significant distance and have left behind “family.” They will need for us to receive them here as family.
Second, they will need the freedom to be who they are, and to learn who you are, and in the process, build relationships. A significant fear that new staff members have is, “Will I be allowed to use the gifts and experiences God has given me, or will I have to fit into the mold of past ministers?” Those of us here must be aware of our unconscious communication to new staff members related to past staff. If we believe and vote to call an individual to work with us, then we vote to allow God to teach us some new things and ideas and ways of doing ministry through this individual.
Third, these new staff members need to see us with our sleeves rolled up, and asking the question, what can we do to make this ministry successful? As I read the Bible, God has designed that the church works best when ALL of the parts of the body are working together. When a church waits for the new guy or gal to get things going, or if they hold back until they see how this new staff member is “going to work out,” it makes for tough going. Make a commitment now to do all you can to make these new staff members and ministries successful.
Our actions and responses do have a lot to do with whether a new staff member is able to help us grow and move forward, or not. Thank you in advance for being the kind of congregation that is aware of these issues and works to make new staff not only feel welcomed but successful! I am praying not only for these new individuals, but for you as well, that 2014 will indeed be a year in which we proclaim loudly, “look at what God is doing here!”