Friday, September 25, 2015

Successful UMC Interviews, Part 2

As I see it, there are two possibilities for truly reforming our United Methodist candidacy process.

Option A - Make sure that every single person involved is completely clear as to what the expectations are - candidates, mentors, interviewers, team members, team leaders, superintendents, bishops - everybody.


Option B - Allow for a variety of personalities, gifts, skill sets, etc. in our candidates, knowing that some do not interview well, some do not write well, some come across as aloof when they’re really just shy, some express ideas with creative words, some think too deeply to be able to process complicated theological questions in a 30 minute interview session, and some are just simply outside of the box.

In my experience and my opinion, “Option B” is never going to happen. And thus I wrote my previous post, with the thought of communicating clearly what is expected of candidates for ministry. In other words, advocating for “Option A” above.

I am grateful to those who responded to my previous post by affirming that each candidate should know themselves and their calling, and be authentic to who they are. That is exactly what I would hope would happen in this process. My point is, stated rather crassly: authenticity will not ensure one’s approval by the interview team.

There is a vast disparity among conferences, among districts within a conference, among different interview teams within one district, and even among the individual interviewers on one interview team when it comes to this process. Simply put, not everyone is clear as to what the expectations are. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing - I am just naming it.

But good, bad, or indifferent, whether someone is approved for certification or commissioning or ordination should not be determined by which interview team they happen to draw.

I am grateful to hear from a couple of friends that changes to our credentialing process in Missouri are in the works. That’s fantastic, and I am hopeful for really good things to happen.

Creating and implementing a new system is half the work. We then still have to do “Option A.” Everyone has to know exactly what is expected at every level. The best system in the world is only worth as much as how many people know about it. (Does that sentence even make sense?)

And so to clarify, I do not advocate that a candidate for ministry be disingenuous or pretend to be something they are not. I was not trying to coach people into bearing false witness against thy neighbors.

I am an advocate for the candidate first, and then for the denomination. I want all of us to know exactly what is expected in these interviews, and to say that out loud with utter transparency. The attitude in which the interviewer is “in the know” and the candidate has to guess as to what they are looking for needs to go away. Far, far away, and never return.

1 comment:

Becky Graham said...

I think Jesus would like Option B also. The Father made us all different why should a church or anyone else think we could put everyone in the same process. If we have to have the process, then yes to Option A.

Becky Graham