Alban Weekly | Staff designs in this century

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Staff designs in this century
The positions that dominated church staffs in the 20th century don't necessarily work in the 21st century. Instead of reflexively hiring an associate pastor to replace an associate who has departed, many congregations now hire people with specific skills-in communication, marketing, fundraising, and other needed specialties. Congregations and judicatories also are evaluating whether ministry work can sometimes be done better by part-time than full-time people.
As a result, an increasing part of my consulting work is to help congregations and judicatories rethink their staff designs. The ministry needs of congregations today are, in many instances, significantly different from the past. What are some of the issues congregations and judicatories consider regarding how best to use their personnel budgets?
Communications: The church secretary was once responsible for collecting articles for a monthly newsletter, assembling them into an attractive form, printing and stuffing the newsletter into envelopes, and then mailing them. Today, fewer and fewer congregations rely on hard copy dissemination of information as a primary communication tool. As a result, they need a staff person skilled at the ways people communicate today: eblasts, websites, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Finding a traditional secretary who has the communication skills needed today can be a challenge. Increasingly, congregations hire a person whose full- or part-time job is to handle electronic communications.Religious Education: Many congregations no longer have large, traditional religious education programs. Sunday morning soccer, among many other things, has sabotaged Sunday school attendance across the country. Consequently, congregations question the need for a full-time religious education person (ordained or not). Increasingly, they opt for part-time religious educators who can work at times other than Sunday mornings when programs are more likely to attract critical mass.

Continue reading from John Wimberly »

What is the "right" sized staff?
In this archive column, sociologist Mark Chaves asks what data collected as part of the National Congregations Study might suggest about whether there is a "right" sized staff. 
Read more from Mark Chaves »
Designing staff positions
Many congregations spend considerable time in the creation of job descriptions without asking the fundamental questions required to effectively design a staff role. Here, former Alban senior consultant Susan Beaumont applies wisdom from the Harvard Business School to this part of congregational life. 
 Read more from Susan Beaumont »
Mobilizing Congregations: How Teams Can Motivate Members and Get Things Done 
by John Wimberly
This is an in-depth look at the power teams bring to congregational work. Wimberly demonstrates that younger generations in particular are much happier working in a team, rather than a committee environment. Congregations using teams are able to mobilize members across generations for both short and long term tasks. 
After clarifying the differences between teams and committees, readers learn the important steps needed to set-up new teams. Leaders who simply create a team without attention to the formation process increase the likelihood of team failure. Using real-world examples and case studies, Wimberly addresses problems teams can expect to experience, as well as ways to resolve those issues. He highlights the surprising similarities between how teams and congregations function, both positively and negatively, providing keen insights from the business world and showing how they can be used to solve issues in congregations. 
Here readers will find both the theory and practice of making a successful transition to a congregation doing its work through highly motivated, efficient teams.
Learn more and order the book » 
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