As millions of football fans will undoubtedly will be glued to their televisions and social media, they will hunger for the latest information about NFL draft picks. The NFL draft is part pageantry and part celebration for football teams and their fans. Draft day means that a team can have hope for a better season as new athletes come on their roster.
This is also a tense time for football teams. Owners, coaches, agents and managers are all trying to work together to pick the best player. With all those high powered people trying to work together sometimes egos, tempers, and anxiety can play a major role in the team’s success. In order to get the best draft position teams will give away players, negotiate terms, trade draft spots, and participate in a number of complex agreements. The world of the NFL draft is truly a dizzying drama for teams but also there is tremendous opportunity.
In the world of the NFL, resources and money are seemingly endless as players are paid multi-million dollar contracts. For churches, the search for staff and volunteers is a frustrating process. Many churches lack the financial resources for say a full time youth minister or education minister. Often volunteers have to take on that work load without pay. Unlike the NFL, churches do not have ability to search for and pay for staff that could grow their organization.
In the church world of limited resources, what if churches joined together to have a Church Draft?
I live and minister in a small community with five mainline churches within a mile of one another. Our worship is similar and so are our ministries. We pastors get along very well. Back in 2009, we started meeting regularly and formed a clergy organization. We started to dream of the ways in which we could work together. We already had a number of connected ecumenical gatherings, but we wanted to do more.
One day, I jokingly asked if I could steal one of the other pastor’s secretary since we were in search of one. He replied that I would have to trade my choir for her. A few months later we were searching for an office manager. I went back to the same pastor and reminded him of our trade agreement but this time it was for real. I wasn’t going to give up my choir but we negotiated terms to share his staff person for our church office administrator position. BOOM! It worked. Fast forward a few years, and now all of our churches are talking about sharing a community youth minister and are supporting community based youth ministry! And, we continue to negotiate and draft ministry people to work in all of our churches.
In our community, it makes sense to work together and “draft” staff and volunteers. Each individual church may not have the resources, but together we are able to work together as one team and not five teams working against one another. Churches in the 21st century need to think about their staff and volunteers as players in the big game of ministry and not see each other as competitors.
Alan Rudnick is the author of “The Work of the Associate Pastor”, Judson Press.