In your search for a worker, why draw your boundaries so wide?

We are currently in the process of looking for a second full-time worker for the church. You can read our job advert here if it is of interest. We have been purposefully broad in how we have written our advert. The big question is, why? Surely we must know what we are looking for so why be so broad in what we are asking for? Seems sensible to explain the rationale.

First, and perhaps what drives it most, is our approach to ministry. Our vision as a church is to be a church of disciples who make disciples by allowing God’s Word to do God’s work by God’s Spirit that aims to plant, support and partner with local churches in the making and training of disciples throughout the UK and across the world. So, at the heart of what we are about is making disciples who make disciples and being Word-based and Spirit-led as we do it.

The question is, what exactly does that mean in practice? That is a much more open question. So, we are less concerned about the specific means that someone might be gifted in that means they will help us in our biblical vision for the church. We are more concerned about whether someone is interested in helping us in this goal of making disciples who make disciples and being Word-based and Spirit-led in doing so. The specific role they fit into as we do that is less important to us than whether they are committed to doing this. We recognise there are a variety of roles that would help us in that task of making disciple-making disciples and so we don’t want to limit ourselves in who we might get to help in that task.

Second, we recognise that people are going to be more excited about what they are interested in than what we tell them they must be interested in. Ministry, in our experience, is much more effective when people have come up with something they are excited to do and are given the freedom to do it than when they’re simply told to fit in with something they are happy enough to do but doesn’t get them fired up. So, we are not particularly interested in asking someone to simply fill ministry slots that already exist. Of course, if someone is very excited about some ministries already going on, that’s great and we’d love them to expand them qualitatively. But, equally, if someone has a real desire to do something altogether different – but that is perfectly contextually appropriate – we want to free them up to do that.

For this reason, we didn’t want to be too tight about how we defined the role on offer. We can tell people what opportunities we already have to fit into, but we don’t want anyone to be bound by that. We can tell people what opportunities we think there might be that we haven’t been able to establish yet, but we don’t want people to be bound by that either. We are glad for them to hear those things, but we want someone to come and do what they are excited to do rather than what we’ve told them they must do. We reckon they will be more effective disciple-making disciples that way.

Third, we are in a position to welcome someone ready to step into a leadership role early but also in a position to train someone into a leadership role. If we define the role as, for example, a c-pastor or assistant pastor role we are only likely to get a certain kind of person with particular experience applying. But we are more interested in getting the right person with particular attitudes towards the church, ministry and the culture than someone with particular experience. We can train those without experience, we can give experience to people without, but we are most interested in character, in particular approaches to church and context. We didn’t want to limit ourselves in these things.

Fourth, we are conscious that we already have people in the church with a variety of skills who can turn their hand to different things. If someone comes in with a real desire to do one-to-one ministry, that’s great, we can see value in that. If someone comes in with a real desire to do evangelistic outreach, that’s great, we can see value in that. If someone comes in to do something in which we are already well stocked, that may free up another of our members to do something else where we need support. The issue we have is not that everybody lacks the skills and experience we need, it is that they lack the time and bandwidth. Our members are already at capacity with the things we are currently doing. What we are looking for is someone who will come in and do new things to expand the ministry or someone who can take some of what is currently happening from existing members who can then be freed up to do new things we aren’t doing. There is not difficulty in us shifting people around in what they’re doing in order to expand the work of ministry. It is expansion we’re after and there are lots of ways we might do it.

So, these are some of the reasons we have drawn our net broadly. We are very much looking for a second full-time worker. They could be a former pastor with a great deal of preaching and discipleship experience, they could be an evangelist with a real heart for reaching either Muslim-background people or the white working class poor, they could be someone taking early steps into ministry who needs to be trained up. There is a potential place at our church for any such people. The issue is not the specific role they will have – which is liable to change and be formed a bit as they are in it – but whether they fit the culture, they are a person of godly character who wants to see disciples made and built up in the faith, irrespective of the particular role they see themselves having in accomplishing that.

If you think that might be you, or you know someone who fits the bill, why not get in touch? Come and have a conversation with us, even if you’re not sure, because you might just find out there is a place for you here, not least because we are convinced quite a lot of people could fit pretty well.