Staff-Parish Committees work overtime when staff teams shift. Local churches are paddling like ducks below the surface with remote staffing, the Great Resignation, and families shifting to be closer to their loved ones. Including the children’s ministry leader early on in the search for a youth/student leader or weekday preschool director would be of great benefit to a local church’s organizational health.   Those who lead littles and not-so-littles serve the same families, share much of the same spaces, require coordinating calendars of special events with the same leaders, and overlap in developmentally appropriate discipleship for entire families. How they work together can make or break a discipleship pathway, and do unnecessary harm or incredible good to a local church staff culture.

This we know: 

  • If someone is applying for a professional position in a local church, it’s a given he/she loves the Lord, is in love with His Word, and desires to set the table for spiritual growth for those they serve.
  • We have an enemy who will do his darndest to mess that up. 

How the table is set for the start of a great relationship between the kidmin lead and the youth or preschool/nursery leads would include inquiries to how people work, how people learn, what sucks the life out of someone, and how people feel appreciated.

If I were invited to be on the search team, I’d ask questions that related to their systems, logistics, communication, tools, their experience in sharing spaces, accessibility, budgets, and Safe Sanctuary. These are the items that can make or break a working relationship. The hard reality is that the lovely folks who make up the search team are not the folks the new hire will work alongside day in and day out. 

If I were invited to the table early on I would ask…..

What jobs did you do before going into professional ministry?
What tools do you use to communicate with leaders? Students? Parents?
What tools do you use to set your personal calendar?
How far in advance do you calendar? Communicate an event?
How do parents fit into your idea of ministry?
How does children’s ministry fit into your idea of ministry?
What ticks you off? (pet peeve?)
What blogs and podcasts are your first choices? (invite him/her to pull out his/her phone)
How do you learn to be a better director/leader?
How do you network with other directors/leaders in your profession?
What do you know about us/this organization?
Tell us about your ministry/professional friends.

What are your thoughts on Safe Sanctuary?
How do you get your worship on?
What do you do when you’re frustrated?
How do you celebrate a win in ministry?
Tell about a time you had to get something done even though it wasn’t your responsibility.
Would you consider yourself to have a strong work ethic? Share about a time you had to go over and above in a work situation.
What is your least favorite thing about leading in your ministry? What is your favorite?
Tell about the best boss you ever worked for? Best kidmin lead you ever served alongside? Best ministry partner?
When is your Sabbath?
Tell about your youth leader when you were in middle/high school.
Tell about the small group you are involved in right now.
What continuing education do you engage in?
What was a recent small group study you took?
What did you do during the quarantine?
How you do ministry today, why did you set it up that way? (middle & high together; middle with high)
What are your thoughts about Confirmation? (for student leaders)
What is your favorite season of ministry?
Tell about a time you got into trouble.
What is a favorite scripture passage to teach from?
What time do you typically wake up in the morning? Go to bed? Early riser? Night owl?
Tell about a time you had a major win in ministry.
What is your family tradition for Christmas Eve?
How do you feel appreciated at work?
What is your favorite board/card game you play right now?
What do you wish you knew when you started in ministry that you know now?
Tell about a couple of your dearest volunteers where you currently serve?
How do you serve as a volunteer today?
What do you want to be known for?
How often do you meet with a mentor?
What is the best way to communicate with you?
What have you learned about leading others through the last 18 months?

I want to be in his/her corner, not just in their circle. I hope they have questions for us. For me. Candidates for professional staff should have lots of questions for us, too. They are interviewing us as a team as much as we are interviewing them. I’d expect them to come prepared. I’d also expect the challenge of more than one candidate so those new on a search team have something to compare. Otherwise, everyone who loves the Lord is ‘impressive’ and there’s not an opportunity to adequately discern the ‘best candidate’ to take the organization to the next level.  Ministry is work and it’s the best work you can do with a healthy, collaborative and innovative team sharing the journey well from the get-go.

How a team works together and appreciates one another can make or break a local church’s impact on the community. It all starts with relationships of honor, trust, consideration, and safety. Let our yes be yes and our no be no as faithful disciples who serve a great God.

“The Israelites sampled their provisions, but did not inquire of the Lord.” Joshua 9:14