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Career Planning & The Methodist Church

Posted by Amy Wilson on December 26, 2008


stained-glassWhen you’re looking, you find mature talent practices in the oddest of places. Like the Church, for example.

My father-in-law is a Methodist Minister. He is “retired” now, but I have always been amazed by his career progression. He moved his family every 5-8 years to a larger church community and then finished up at a smaller, pre-retirement gig (in Carmel, no less). After a part-time overseas exchange, he now fills in at neighboring churches, having no “flock” of his own (other than the hundreds spread out around the world he still manages to keep in touch with).

Yesterday, he explained the placement practices of the Church. In January of each year, the central board asks each minister if he/she a) wants to continue on at the same church, b) wants to move to a different church, or c) is open to either. Meanwhile, the board queries the church committee in the same manner.

If it’s time for the minister to move on, a matching process commences. Moving does not necessarily mean a promotion, but it does mean a new experience and hopefully a good fit. The minister identifies the desired characteristics of the next church and may even have some specific churches in mind. The church committee also specifies criteria. A short list is identified and the committees/ministers go through a rigorous interview process. At the same time each year, placements are finalized and there is plenty of time to prepare.

My in-law’s address book is evidence that they never actually “left” any particular job, but instead continuously added new experiences and connections. At the same time, they created opportunities for others to develop their careers and really my in-laws (the minister and the nurse) are all about helping.

2 Responses to “Career Planning & The Methodist Church”

  1. Meg Bear said

    Isn’t it interesting how some of the more established “organizations” are really not at all old fashioned in their approach to Talent. Maybe this is part of a general phase I’m going through that would suggest taking a new look at the tried and true values of a few generations back.

  2. GretchenA said

    Wow, Amy scooped Bob Sutton. Here’s his article on the Methodist church – 2 weeks after yours! http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/01/a-cool-old-study-of-methodist-ministers.html

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