June 29, 2012

Calling a Call Committee

I have put together a screening committee to help me select a new leader for our children and youth ministries. At St. Andrew’s we are coming to the end of a seven-year period where our children and youth ministries have been directed by a fun, gifted young woman who will leave this position to become a college chaplain. She came to this ministry fresh out of seminary. She was not yet ordained and her primary experience had been working with college age young people. In the course of these past years, she has become a priest and learned on the job what it takes to direct a church school and youth program.

We know much better now what we seek in the right candidate to become our Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries. We learned what we know from four open sessions to which we invited parents during the month of June. Here are some of things they shared:

  • “We want our kids to have a sense of belonging”
  • “We hope that they will know the joy in service to others, friendships, values, fun, and laughter at church”
  • “We need regular, repeated, constant communication about activities and opportunities”
  • “We parents want ways to connect and opportunities to get to know each other”
  • “We want someone who is fun, nurturing, and a good listener”
  • “Let’s get someone who can channel children’s wild energy into joyful service”

Other parents talked about wanting content that helped our children understand the Episcopal faith and the biblical narrative.

With this input in hand, my assisting priest and I put together a Mission Impossible Team of parents with the right portfolio of experiences, interests, and responsibilities to serve as a screening committee for us. Three vestry members are included along with parents of children at all age levels, some with all age levels in one household. One mother has a four-year-old and a one-year-old, so she has an eye for what our program will need to look like out five to fifteen years from now.

Here is how our process is going to work. From parent input we have developed the job posting included below. This will be posted at surrounding seminaries and colleges, through other churches in the community, through the diocesan network, and in a variety of social media. Member of the screening committee will receive copies of all the resumes with a score sheet that lets them rate candidates according to the skill set we seek. The group will then get together for a pizza party and settle in on the two, three, four (or more) candidates that I will interview along with my assisting priest. We will make an offer to the best candidate and hopefully they will accept and join our team.

By the time they are on board, a large portion of our community of church school families will have touched the process. This will build a welcoming team of partners for our new staff person helping them to avoid being the “hired-hand” to run kid’s ministries.

Below is our job posting. If you know anyone in the Seattle area looking for a great job, just let me know.

Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, a vibrant, growing, intergenerational urban church located in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle is seeking a new director for its children and youth ministries. Working with families, volunteers and a staff team with small stipends (youth group leaders, church school superintendents, and nursery workers), the director will have oversight for the church school and youth programs under the supervision of the rector. The director will work closely with other senior staff to help integrate children and youth ministries into the full spectrum of parish life.

Strong candidates will have skills in visioning and strategic planning, supervision of a large volunteer team, and have a passion for guiding and nurturing a community that seeks to grow together in love and service. They will be approachable and welcoming, with the ability to communicate effectively and listen well. They will be well-grounded in the Christian faith and life with the ability to lead others in growing in love of God and neighbor.

This position requires a leader who can recruit and mentor a large volunteer team, develop and build support for current and new programs and provide opportunities for community-building for children, youth and their families.

Please send resumes by email to rector@saintandrewsseattle.org or by mail to: 
Search Committee, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
111 NE 80th Street
Seattle, WA 98115