During uncertain economic times how do congregations provide staff leadership that is essential for forward progress? How do congregations add a staff person? How do congregations replace a staff person? How do congregations lower staff costs in response to what they hope is a temporary reduction in tithes and offerings? One of the best ways to fulfill staffing needs is to use 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers.
For many years I have been developing and promoting the congregational staffing concept of 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers. In this post I share a concise summary of my current thinking.
What are 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers? 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers are lay ministers who work 22 hours per week for 44 weeks per year focusing on a specialized staff assignment such as the disciplemaking process, music and worship program, age or target group focus, or one or more specialized ministries.
The 22 hours per week includes their involvement in Sunday activities, and other regular services and program times in which they participate. The 44 weeks per year is a key concept for this type of part-time lay minister. It allows them the opportunity to take breaks during the year for holidays, family vacation, and other times and reasons for being away. Depending upon the salary, benefits, and administrative support structure in a congregation, three to four 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers can be employed for the same cost as one full-time, permanent staff minister.
Who are 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers? Usually these people come from within the membership of the congregation. They are people who already believe in the congregation, and its spiritual strategic direction. Typical candidates for these positions include spouses who have children at home so they are not working full-time. They would like to work in a congregational ministry position, and can work the schedule around school hours.
Retired persons are often candidates. Persons who have retired early for various reasons, but would still like to work and are committed to ministry within their congregation make excellent 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers. Bivocational ministry also fits the 22-44 Ministry Mobilizer concept. Many people have secular jobs that are confined to certain hours. They can work a second, part-time job and would like to do this in ministry in their congregation. Persons who teach school often can service as 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers. The reality is that they probably work less than 22 hours per week during the school year, but may be full-time during most of the summer.
Special Issues Concerning 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers: 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers should be thought of as people who do essential work of ministry, and not as people who hold a job in the congregation. As such, several principles should guide the 22-44 Ministry Mobilizer system in any congregation.
First, all 22-44 Ministry Mobilizer positions are fluid, dynamic, and temporary. 22-44 Ministry Mobilizer positions are established to meet a real need for a specified time. No 22-44 Ministry Mobilizer position should be permanent.
Second, 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers and their staff leader should develop a written covenant for the fulfillment of a clearly defined ministry assignment for a defined number of months or years.
Third, 22-44 Ministry Mobilizer positions should be for six months to three years in length. Even within this time span should be checkpoints where the ministry team leader and the lay minister can evaluate the viability of continuing the ministry position, and the desire of both for this person to continue in this ministry position.
Fourth, at the end of the covenant period several things can happen. The covenant relationship may conclude and the lay minister moves on. The congregation may renew the covenant. Or, the congregation may significantly change the covenant with the lay minister and ask them to take on a new ministry challenge.
Fifth, 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers must seek to identify and coach three to five people who could fulfill their current ministry assignment. Many 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers will actually work themselves out of a job and perhaps be ready to take on a new staff challenge for the congregation at the end of their covenant.
Other posts in this series are as follows: