PART 1 | PART 2
Looking for a ministry position can be both exciting and discouraging. At first you are pumped and excited to see what God has for you, then you go through the process knowing that you are often times competing with others for the same position. In part 1 we looked at some danger signs to bear in mind when applying and interviewing. Hopefully, they can help avoid later conflict within the staff and/or congregation.
There are some positive signs to look out for when considering a ministry position. For me, this is where I really take a close look and decide if the church is right for me and my family. If these three are not present, then neither will I be.
Mission and Vision
Take a close look at the churches missing and vision. Is it something you can get fully behind? Does it encourage you to passionately pursue the presence of Christ in your life and the lives of the congregation? There are some great mission and visions out there, but unfortunately, there are some bad. On the flip side there are churches with great mission and vision statements but no one embraces or even knows what they are. When considering a position, I look for a church that knows where it is going, knows its purpose, knows what they value, and wants to get there together. I do not want to waste my time spinning wheels. If a church does not want to move forward together then all we will be doing is going our separate ways all under the same roof.
It is important to me to see how the staff interacts with each other. Not only is there mutual respect, but a genuine care for each other. How does the staff get along? Are these people I would want to hang out with outside of "work?" I am very fortunate that at Redeemer, I will be with both Pastor Joe and Pastor Pat. We already spend a lot of time together, playing cards, talking about what God is teaching us, praying for each other, and finding ways of hacking Joe's social media accounts. Staff need to develop a relationship of mutual respect and care. These are individuals who will be in a position to see your glaring blindspots. You will be shepherding people together. Conflict will always arise but if there is no relationship it can not not be dealt with properly and can lead to lingering bitterness. You need to ask yourself, "would I want to hang out with them?"
A Culture of Love
As mentioned previously, no church is perfect. No staff is perfect. There is no church that can offer you a 100% stress free environment. What helps in those times of struggle is one, a faith and trust that God is sovereign; and two, a culture of love within the church. When people genuinely love each other, they are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. When there are disagreements, will they be handled in love? Will people see you merely as a means to a goal or as family? Michelle and I were already pretty confident that I would accept the offer. We knew there would be struggles at times, we love the mission and vision, we love the church itself and the elders/pastors, but one moment "sealed the deal" for us. During the interview process, one of the elders asked Michelle about her thoughts and how they could love and care for her and our kids. They reassured her that they love us and will not abuse us by overworking me to the point of neglecting my family. They encouraged her to speak up and share concerns. Ultimately, they told us that the health of our family is vital.
As mentioned, I have been in bad situations and good. No church brings on a staff person to run them ragged, but it can easily happen when the church is not going the same direction, the staff does not get along, or when a culture of love is replaced with a culture of success / goals / pride / envy / greed / agendas. Do not jump into a position, take the time and discern what is best for you, your family, and the church.