Up until the spring of this year, St. Andrew’s Hespeler had a position called the Creative Ministries Coordinator – a part time position that was very ability filled by Adriana Vermaas for many years. In the spring she resigned and is moving on to other challenges (while continuing to participate in the life of the congregation).
What do you do when a position like that is suddenly vacant in the life of a congregation? Generally speaking Christian congregations are not overstaffed. Though there are always concerns about how much the payroll costs, of course, the problem is almost never that there are too many people on staff but rather that there are not enough to do everything that needs to be done.
So there is a temptation, as soon as a position like this is vacated, to go ahead and fill it right away because there is a danger that, if we don’t, the congregation will just decide that they can get by without the position and the existing staff will only end up getting stretched thinner.
But immediately filling the position is not what we are going to do in this case. Instead, after considering things for a bit, the session has decided that we will take some time to evaluate things. We have created a list of all the responsibilities that have fallen on the Creative Ministries Coordinator in the past and created some proposals for how these these responsibilities can be covered by others – by committees or volunteers in some cases, by staff (hopefully without overburdening them) in others.
We will very carefully monitor how these responsibilities are being covered over the next six months. In every case we will be evaluating whether or not these responsibilites are being covered and by whom. We will also be keeping track of whether or not taking care of these responsibilites has led to other things in the congregation being neglected.
At the end of this period of evaluation – by next spring – it is our hope that we will have a better picture of where the gaps are in the work and ministry and work of our congregation. Then we will be in a better position to determine whether we need to increase our paid staff coverage, whether specific volunteers need to be recruited or other solutions need to be considered. We do not know where this evaluation will lead us and we want to be open to all posibilites.
I think that this next period of evaluation has its risks. If we are not honest with ourselves about how things are going, if we wrongfully overburden some individuals or if we fail to consider new possibilites, we could end up making some wrong decisions.
I would greatly appreciate everyone’s prayers during this period. I encourage everyone to pitch in and help but also to be very open to talking about how things are going. Above all, let us place our trust in God that, as we open ourselves to his leading, we will be able to find an excellent partnership between staff, committeess and volunteers that will continue to lead this congregation with excellence.
We must not be governed by fear of change or fear of large budgets. If we are faithful to follow God’s call, we know that our Father will provide what we need. We will be governed by faith.