How would you describe the most important skills or qualifications that you bring to the position of leadership that you hold in the church? What immediately leaps to my mind are those lists of adjectives that have masqueraded as qualifications for many jobs in the church I have held over the years. Help Wanted: experienced, responsible, reliable, organized, competent, skilled, likeable, supportive, flexible, collaborative, knowledgeable, proficient person to ….
There’s a sort of implied threat in such lists — no one need apply who is in-experienced, ir-responsible, un-reliable, dis-organized, in-competent …. you get my drift. It’s what the dis-abled face all the time — and if you’ve ever faced a seemingly interminable job search, you know what it’s like to suspect that the one thing that dis-qualifies you in many people’s eyes is precisely that you’re un-employed. You get to the bottom of so many of those lists of job qualifications and suspect that Mother Teresa wouldn’t get a second interview.
So you can imagine that I found it very refreshing to discover through a colleague, Marty Davis of the Congregational Resource Guide, a group of “entrepreneurial innovators in ministry communications” meeting in Chicago today who value a whole other set of job qualifications for the work they do. You can see it in the fact that they invited facilitators who describe themselves as including a brand strategist, visual storyteller, Twitter addict, strategy orchestrator, wooer, futurist, ideator, brand innovator, lifehacker, textologist, compulsive networker, and experience engineer — among other things.
It made me wonder what all religious congregations would be like if we could advertise job openings in our communities without the dis-qualifications looming so large, and instead could say just what it is that we really need the most. Wanted: A compulsive networker and incorrigibly hopeful futurist and wooer of the straying, a lifehacker full of tips and tricks for getting things done among people who often seem to have given up already, a visual storyteller and verbal artist — strategy orchestrator, textologist, and Experience Engineer, to serve as ….
O.k., fair enough — Mother Teresa might not get that job, either — but she might just apply! If only we’d ask–and if we’d list some of the real things that make each of us the most interesting, and helpful, and faithful in our lives as congregational leaders.
What qualities do you think make you the right fit for the job your currently hold? And what qualifications do you find yourself longing to discover some day, in an advertisement saying, Help Wanted: …. ?