The Red Vineyards near Arles, Vincent van Gogh (1853-90), Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
Practically speaking, we have a goal to implement these same strategies for our parishes as we help them to identify the vital paid positions in the parish so they can recruit, hire, and retain disciples who are committed to our Lord’s mission to make more disciples.
The first step of this process is to ensure that every paid position in the parish, from the lay ministry positions to the bookkeeper and the custodian, have well-written position descriptions which outline the required competencies, tasks, and responsibilities. The descriptions must also clearly outline how each position has a role in building a culture of discipleship in their parish. This will help the parish groupings to ensure that everyone on staff has a clear understanding of what is expected of them to serve the parish community well.
When open positions are identified, the parish will need to advertise in order to attract disciples to apply. One of our best recruiting strategies is encourage those who are engaged in their faith to refer other fellow disciples with the right competencies to apply. We will need to identify a hiring committee specific to each open position and develop an interview guide to ensure we are asking the right questions to determine competency as well as a commitment to the mission.
As a religious employer, we get to talk with people about their faith journey as well as hear about their professional experience. I have found myself on sacred ground with people in interviews many times over the years when they share a deeply personal experience of Our Lord breaking into their lives, calling them to follow Him. People who work in our parishes need to be vulnerable enough to share at least a little bit about their relationship with Jesus during an interview because sharing our faith journey is fundamental to a culture of discipleship in a parish.
And lastly, our parishes will get creative in ways they can offer both intrinsic and extrinsic value to those who are employed at their parish. The intrinsic value provided needs to include a culture of regular prayer with colleagues, growth opportunities through discipleship formation, competency development and flexible work schedules. While parishes need to be good stewards of their resources, retaining talented disciples will not happen unless the employees are paid well enough to not have to seek employment elsewhere. Our parishes will be guided on fair pay ranges for positions to attract and retain disciples, provide a broad range of affordable insurance benefits, discounts for employees who send their children to Catholic schools, and other extrinsic rewards such as extra paid holy days and holidays and generous paid time off policies.
Hiring and retaining competent disciples of Jesus Christ who are ready, willing, and able to make disciples in our ten counties will set the Diocese of Lansing on fire for our Lord and bring more people into a deep friendship with Jesus.
Yours in Christ,
Yours in Christ,