I am preparing to lead a clergy career development seminar this week with Rob Voyle and have been reviewing my notes, which form the basis of the Theologies for the Vocational Journey and Five Steps in the Search Process series in the archives of this blog. I have been leading longer or shorter versions of this seminar over the past ten years and am always interested to see where my thinking is changing as the deployment/transition ministry system evolves. Might you be interested as well? Some of these thoughts have been expressed in more recent blogs. Here is a summary of them as I prepare for a three-day seminar.
On call and discernment theologies: Traditional longer searches are far more comfortable with a discernment theology that encourages clergy to self nominate, in part because the mechanisms to support a call theology, particularly the OTM Portfolio matching program, do not yield many good results. On the other hand, the growth of short searches for PiC’s or rectors in smaller parishes leans toward a call theology, as candidates are nominated by TMO’s or bishops.
On personal discernment portfolios (where you put answers to the questions: Who am I? and What do I want to do with my gifts?) I am adding a third question: How can my gifts help the church in the future? God knows the church needs help now, so we need to be clear on how we can use our skills to strengthen the gospel, if not the church.
The OTM portfolio is no longer a significant factor in getting you name before a search committee, because the program for matching clergy gifts and skills to parish desired gifts and skills is widely perceived to be ineffective. However, the narrative section of the OTM portfolio is valued as a brief writing sample that covers a number of topics relevant to most church searches.
Search committees are experimenting with emerging internet technologies. I’ve been solicited for a job via a LinkedIn search and recently saw an ad for a rector’s job on my Facebook page. Skype interviews are replacing phone interviews, though I am not sure how much additional information participants get from trying to read the body language of images that are three inches high on a computer screen.
Interviewing skills are best learned through practice. You can read all sorts of tips for interviewing, but every bit of that advice will flee your brain when you are seated before a panel of fifteen to thirty interviewers.
Next post I’ll share with you what I learned from participants in the seminar.