November 12, 2019

Job search within the Church

In our congregations as well as dioceses we oftentimes have the opportunity to hire a new staff person whether a youth director, financial officer, musician, administrator or sexton. A question for us all is whether we are using good HR (human resource) practices to hire these individuals or are we filling these positions with “Family and Friends”.

Recently at our commission meeting we compiled a list of best practices for lay positions which are below. Do consider as leaders how well we are adhering to these items.

· Form search committees for appropriate lay positions across the church
· Utilize best practices for the job search process to maximize interest from lay people
· Determine whether positions being considered for clergy can also be performed by lay
· Determine whether lay positions being considered are for Episcopalians only or can be filled by those familiar with the Episcopal church

· Be intentional about diversity in job searching and post positions on platforms that support diverse constituency
· Ensure positions are shared with Diocesan Transition Ministers
· Be intentional in also sharing jobs with the Episcopal Communicators network
· Disseminate jobs via the wider church network as well as diocesan and parochial media platforms e.g. social media, email, newsletters etc.
· Disseminate jobs on external secular job sites
· Post lay positions in the Office of Transition Ministry (OTM) database

Job searches are an opportunity for us to engage others in the decision making of the diocese or congregation enabling a more transparent process for hiring rather than one that is done behind closed doors. It also gives others within and outside the church the opportunity to appreciate the types of gifts that are important to our church and most important that we are not a closed society but welcoming to all. We can also have serious discussions about whether jobs previously designated for clergy are inherently so, or whether a talented lay person may fit the bill.

Another critical component is the issue of diversity. A few years ago Louis Crew Clay asked an intern to visit the website of all the dioceses of the Episcopal Church to visually assess diversity in their staff. Unsurprisingly our diversity measure could be vastly improved especially for senior staff positions. Evangelism and justice show up in many forms including our job searches within the church.