What is in a Parish Profile?

Before the new selection committee recently named by the Vestry can get down to the business for which it was appointed, it has a lot of homework to do.

What home work?

It must meet with the Vestry and come to an agreement on the process to be used to guide the process it is to manage.  That discussion is about more than a schedule.  It represents a personal, philosophical and spiritual discussion about the values of the parish and the traits in candidates that best fit those values.  It is a discussion of who we are today and what we believe God is calling us to be for the future.

What is God calling St. Timothy’s to be for the future?

That is the same question that has driven the 20/20 Vision process over the past eighteen months.  Does the selection committee take that work product to date and ‘go with it’ into their process future—or do they substitute their own views?

The Vestry has adopted three broad goals resulting from the 20/20 Vision process:

1.       Be a welcoming parish open to all

2.       Invest in our kid’s faith foundation

3.       Live into the mission work of the church.

Today, there is at work a number of parish ministry groups taking those goals and translating them into action plans and strategies for the Vestry to consider to give life and meaning to the goals.  What role will those people play in the selection committee’s process of developing a parish profile?

Over the past few months I have been “collecting parish profiles” as examples.  Links to them and other resources can be found in the RESOURCES category in this blog.  I hope the selection committee finds them a useful starting point.  I suspect they will quickly discover as I did in reviewing them how daunting a task it is to assemble the collective sense of the parish into a parish profile that all feel a sense of ownership and comfort with when they read it.

Most of the parish profiles go through the same orderly process which can be generally summarized as:

Our Discernment Preparation:

  • Who we Are:  Our values and vision as a parish discerned from parish input
  • What is God calling us to be and do?  Our purpose and mission in doing God’s work
  • Our Hopes for the Future:  Our strategy and vision to respond to God’s call

Who We Are: Our Parish Fact Sheet

  • Parish History, demographics and the community we serve
  • Parish finance, budget and staff
  • Parish role in the Diocese, the Community and in meeting our parish needs

Our Parish Corporate Worship and Spiritual Life

  • Welcoming All to Worship and inclusiveness
  • Tradition of collegiality among our clergy
  • Corporate worship styles and services
  • Music and art in the spiritual life of the parish
  • Spiritual formation and growth, Christian education approach

Parish Life and Ministries

  • Fellowship and ministry opportunities for involvement
  • Youth and family ministry faith foundation
  • Pastoral care, support ministries and spiritual growth journey experiences
  • Interfaith cooperation

Living into the Mission of the Church

  • Our outreach approach in the community, nation and the wider church
  • Our work and relationships in the Diocese of California
  • Our 50th anniversary goal to plant a mission congregation

Key issues facing Our Parish

  • Budget, Finance, Capital Program and the Diocesan assessment
  • Broadening the pledge base of the parish for the future
  • Serving the needs of the underserved and unchurched
  • Gaining critical mass for youth ministry success
  • Expanding worship choices from traditional to ‘edgy’
  • Engaging every parish member in doing the work of the church

Our Selection Process:

  • Diocesan Guidance and communication
  • Position specification, profile and posting
  • Criteria for evaluating and screening candidates
  • Interview process and time line
  • Finalist recommendations to the Vestry
  • Visitation process and time  line
  • Consultation with the Bishop and Making a Call
  • Negotiating Terms of the Contract
  • Announcing the Call
  • Transition process

Do you see what I mean?

This is a daunting process that overlaps considerably with the work of the Vestry and the 20/20 Vision process now underway at St. Timothy’s.

The job of the selection committee is to manage the call process for the Vestry and efficiently get them a field of well qualified finalists that fit the position specification and values of the parish.

It is the job of the Vestry to make the substantive decisions about which candidate to call and the terms of employment in consultation with the Bishop.

Unless there is a clear understanding of the roles each must play the process will bog down or go off track.  No one wants that.

The co-chairs of the selection committee, Carol Moore and Bob Carns, are skilled, sensible people well known to the parish.  The selection committee members represent a wide cross section of the parish and all of our service traditions and ages.

Our job as parish members is to pray for them and cheer them on as they do their work—-and to keep on doing God’s work in the church—a living example of Christ in our lives.

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