Here is part IV of Rev. Jim Cantrell’s advice to young clergy during the most recent Young Clergy Retreat of the Western North Carolina Conference.
16. When you hire staff, hire them with the idea that they will be with you and the church for a long time. The best staff are not those who “do” ministry but who train and equip the laity to be in ministry.
I thought this was good advice for young clergy to hear because, let’s face it, many of us won’t be hiring a ton of staff yet. (because of being at small congregations) But knowing what to look for when we do is vital to be ready to make those decisions when they present themselves. I think this is also key for our understanding of ministry. Ministers are to equip not ‘do’. WOW, what a concept.
17. Make yourself available to offer leadership at the district, annual conference and community level. Resist the temptation to become isolated in your local church.
I think many of us young clergy, when we gather together, we, for lack of a better word, bitch a lot about the conference or district. I think there is a lot of validity to it and ‘the system’ is also fun to complain about but in reality we need to get into the system if we are going to make any changes. I have started to look over our Conference committees and there are very few young clergy on them. This is where the old school “wait your turn” thought process comes in but fresh eyes can lead to new ideas. Wouldn’t it be better to have young clergy on these committees who can look at the system before we are corrupted by it?
18. Recognize that most laity really do want to be involved in some kind of meaningful and fulfilling ministry. Make it your goal to assist in bringing that to reality.
Once again, go back to #16. Equip not do because laity want to do. If we are going to reach the our own generation, this is something we need to learn to do well because this is what our generation (Gen. X and Y) desire to do. This is one reason I really like the RETHINK Church push.
19. Consider developing a relationship with someone whom you would like to have as a mentor.
I have heard from numerous people from numerous areas of life speak to this. Mentors are good to push you as a person and professional. This is something I need more of in my life. I do better when pushed and when I can bounce things off of people. Anyone need a mentee?
20. If there is someone in your annual conference from whom you would like to learn something, contact them, tell them what you want and ask them if they will give you a morning or afternoon to teach you how they do something.
Rev. Cantrell pushed this one hard. We are a connectional system and we are not in competition with one another. We have to realize that and then learn from one another. I think too many times Young Clergy, especially, look at one another and see an opponent not a colleague. There is a fellow clergy down the street that is doing some wonderful stuff. They are growing, thriving, and doing great ministry. What should I do, be angry I didn’t get that appointment or ask to talk to them and learn from them. We should learn from each other. We are all hear to build the Kingdom of God, not compete for appointments and salaries!
That is it. There are some really good nuggets here. Anyone have any they would add? Which is the hardest pill to swallow? Where do you struggle? What comes easy to you?