Nine months into COVID-19, we are still navigating the additional tasks and structures brought about by the quick shift to online ministry. Having to manage online and in-person services on top of small groups, outreach and maintaining each ministry is no small task, and many churches are still looking to find new ways to do this.
Hiring new roles to manage the increase in daily responsibilities has become a hot topic for ministry leaders as they seek answers for how to best keep their churches functioning.
To get a pulse on which roles churches should prioritize right now, I sat down with Rich Birch, founder of UnSeminary, who recently wrote an article on this topic for churches 1,000-plus in attendance. He casts a vision for the future of church leadership as the paradigm of the traditional church gathering experience has shifted.
Here is what Birch has to say about the five key roles that will catalyze your church health and growth moving forward.
1. Development Director—The development director role is responsible for implementing new campaigns that encourage church members to give. This role is key in helping your church to grow and develop. It's no longer sustainable for lead pastors to manage this area if their focus is on shepherding and creating the vision and culture of your church.
2. Church Online Pastor—The online pastor role runs all things online. From figuring out technology integrations to engaging with and caring for the online community, this role will have a wide range of responsibilities that lead pastors don't have the bandwidth to do well on top of managing their in-person activities. We're hearing most pastors plan to continue both online and in-person service even as the pandemic slows down. For this plan to be sustainable, online pastors will become critical to church survival.
3. Senior Communications Leader—The senior communications leader role creates, implements and manages all communication within the church. Ideally, this role is a leadership position that helps the church deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time in the right way.
Having this person on your leadership team ensures your vision and voice is consistent across all channels and to all audiences. This is important in crises and change, as well as for building a strong church culture. Learn more about how communications leaders are vital to your staff in our Ultimate Guide to Church Communications.
4. Data Scientist – The data scientist role looks at all of the church's data to make informed decisions about how to move forward with the various ministries of the church. Churches are full of information that is often untapped, and the data scientist role helps turn that data into meaningful ministry opportunities. This role is especially important as churches begin to utilize online channels more.
A data scientist would be in charge of measuring engagement with your online efforts from emails to your social media and website. They would also be able to understand the demographics of your church and how to adjust efforts based on information such as the interests, life stages and careers of your members.
5. Remote Roles – Remote roles could include any role that your church is looking for, but they don't have to be someone who lives in your area. Think about tasks like video editing, graphic projects or copywriting. These are areas where you can hire the most talented candidate without worrying about their location.
On top of achieving some of the one-off or specialized tasks you need help with, remote roles allow you to hear feedback from someone outside of the church and create diverse viewpoints through which you can analyze your church.
If your church isn't quite ready to hire these roles full time, consider hiring these roles as part-time or contract employees. Not only will having these roles help your church function, but these roles will also help your church grow.
UnSeminary serves Christian leaders by providing free and paid resources such as blogs, podcasts and coaching to walk pastors through the things they don't teach you in seminary. Birch specializes in church growth and church planting and would love to connect with you about how to reach more people in a more effective manner.
At Vanderbloemen and ChristianTeams, we are passionate about staffing Christian organizations. It's our mission to connect people to their calling and form powerful bonds between ministries and those who lead them. We are ready to help you fill the critical roles within your organization. Reach out to us if we can help as you seek to fill new positions at your organization.
Sarah Robins is the vice president of sales and client relations atVanderbloemen, which serves teams with a greater purpose by aligning their people solutions for growth: hiring, compensation, succession and culture. Through its retained executive search and consulting services, Vanderbloemen serves churches, schools, nonprofits, family offices and Christian businesses in all parts of the United States and internationally.
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