After much prayer and conversation at a recent retreat, the church council arrived at a consensus to seek someone to help SMLC raise up leaders, develop disciples, and equip people to be engaged with youth, their families and others in the congregation. In other words, a “Director of Faith Formation … or Discipleship” who empowers many people in ministry instead of being the one person charged with doing the ministry. To quote from the position description:
We seek a facilitator, an initiator, and educator–a connector of dots who has a love for God and the people of God born of this millennium. We are not looking for someone with all of the answers but rather someone willing to invest in the lives of young people and share in the twists, turns, and questions that come with their journey of faith.
During this transition time, a number of volunteers have stepped up (and into) ministry with youth and what a blessing that has been! This church community has a great diversity of gifts, experiences, and personalities that God calls into ministry of one type or another. The idea that each of us (not just the pastor) has a “baptismal vocation” is a very Lutheran idea! The council discerned that what is needed most at Saint Michael is staff to help empower and develop this sense of discipleship among us. There will be a focus in the area of youth ministry but not necessarily limited to that.
This person could be a rostered leader or they might be a lay person with the necessary education and experience. They might already be in our congregation or drawn from elsewhere. We will be casting a “wide net” to use a biblical metaphor! If a rostered leader like a pastor or deacon is identified as the right match for the position, we would most likely bring that person on contractually in the same way a lay person would be hired. If that develops later on into a formal call process, then the congregation would need to be involved. The main thing right now is to seek a person who is invested in this ministry and who has the capacity and calling to carry it out, no matter who they are.
There are a few more details to work out and some adjustments to make to the position description. The council will also appoint a committee to receive applications and make recommendations back to the council. But things are underway, so I invite you to pray for this process. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide those involved and open the hearts of those hearing God’s whisper in their ear. Pray for our young people and those who love them. Pray that we will have the courage to trust God always remains faithful.