A few years ago, the Network introduced our first set of “Standards and Guidelines” for professionals who work in children, youth and family ministry. The idea was that there should be some kind of standards for how we grow and develop in our ministry, and for how we practice our ministry on a day-to-day basis.
Developing a document like this is a challenge, because everyone’s experiences are different, and our thoughts and opinions are always based on our experience. But finally, after a year’s work, in 2011 the Network Board approved our first set of “Standards and Guidelines.” We posted them, and made them widely available.
About 18 months ago, the Board took on the task of reviewing this document to see if it needed to be updated. Our basic concern was that while the first version was good, and well-intended, the document was long…and it was detailed…and it was intimidating…and even though it was intended for those who did this work professionally, volunteers would look at it and say “what have I gotten myself into?”
So work began on rewriting the document with the intent of simplifying it.
That work is complete.
The document has been retitled. It is now called Leadership Competencies. Our sense was that “Standards and Guidelines” felt more like limitations and barriers than something that we want to work towards. Leadership Competencies moves it to a positive angle, and focuses on what God is calling us to become in ministry rather than what we shouldn’t be in ministry.
The new document is shorter than the old, trimmed by more than half. But the basic concepts and the things we value are all still there.
We want these Leadership Competencies to become part of our vocabularies. I’d love it if someday, when asked by an interview committee, a person could say, “Yes, I am a member of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network,” and the committee would know what that means…they would know that these values, these competencies, are already a part of this person’s ministry; that by being a member of the Network, this person is committed to growing in their skills, their vocation and their own faith.
I invite you to take a look a the new document, and post or send any feedback. It is a document that will continue to grow and adapt as the world around us changes.