Next post: HAIR!
Oh, no you don’t.
Save it for your beach vacation. Toe rings and anklets don’t belong on any professional feet. Period.
Wow, dear readers. I went to a fantastic seminar on Effective Supervision in the Church, led by Susan Beaumont. It was sponsored by my denominational district and I have been eagerly anticipating it since I started my new call, where I am now the supervisor of a (relatively) large program and administrative staff.
The room was packed with dear colleagues, which was extra fun because those of us who have known each other for a long time could compare notes and marvel at how much we we wish we had received this training in seminary. The thing is, when I attended seminary, congregational culture was different. Times have changed. Even as our institutions are facing decline and cultural irrelevancy, I believe we must steward them well and attend to their strength as seriously as we ever have, as a home base for living out a missional faith. To put that in less jargony terms, if we (ordained, lay and staff) don’t do a good job running our churches, we will not have the clarity, the skills and the systems of accountability in place to accomplish the building up of God’s realm beyond our congregations.
What I heard Susan Beaumont say, loud and clear, is that clergy supervisors fail in our responsibility to our churches when we approach supervision with a primarily pastoral ethos, placing a premium on personal relationships rather than effectiveness and accountability.
Throughout the entire day, I and others around me were going, “Whoa.” WHOA. Because who more than pastors are more susceptible to the accusation that we’re not being “nice” enough or “supportive” or “loving” or “forgiving” enough on the job? I encourage every single one of my readers to take this training or one like it. It was a great help to be able to examine the particular emotional and political complexities faced by clergy supervisors. I don’t know Susan Beaumont and she doesn’t know me, so when I tell you that she does a fantastic job, it’s not because I’m getting anything out of it. She’s top notch.
We learned how to write a good job description. We learned about core competencies, essential functions and how to set reasonable and clear outcomes. We learned how to do feedback. We studied painfully hilarious case studies of dysfunctional staff dynamics that each of us recognized on some level, and we role-played. We learned how to do a performance review and annual evaluations, and the difference between the two.
Another valuable take-away: if you don’t have the authority to hire and fire employees, you have no real authority as a supervisor. You’re bound to get tangled in systems of accountability and lines of authority. Fix the system with your leaders.
I was well trained in the supervision of student interns, but was never offered a course in church staff supervision in either my MDiv or my DMin studies. I cannot encourage all of you to avail yourselves of an opportunity to get clear on best practices around church staff supervision. Bring some lay leaders with you if you can. Your church or religious institution will benefit GREATLY.
I hurt my foot in Hawaii and I am looking at my shoes and wondering what I can wear on my feet while I heal that doesn’t hurt or utterly depress me as sneakers and Merrill Jungle Mocs would/do. I wore sneakers today and it was so very wrong for me, I felt that I had Sad Feet. I’m sure there is a talented hypnotist around who can help me let go of my sneakers aversion. It would be nice to be able to rock some cute kicks and not feel like all my stuffing had been removed.
April is such a difficult transitional month, isn’t it, kittens?
One wants to send all one’s winter coats to the dry cleaner, or maybe just burn them in a bonfire, and never look them in the eye again, the dreadful things. One wants to frolic in zippy little trench coats and light-weight chapeaux like the cute spring green one I picked up eons ago in Paris. It is a kind of mini witch’s hat with a wide ribbon band. I love it.
But then one knows that one is likely to wake up to another surprise April snowfall and regret that one has squirrelled away all one’s snuggly warmies. So one doesn’t know WHAT to do!
One must still be suffering from jet lag, as one is definitely using the pronoun “one” in an excessive way in this post.
Anyway, my winter-weary compadres, do get your winter coats cleaned and hang them in breathable covers in a closet where you won’t have to see them for months. Plastic is not a good idea, and neither is putting away coats with dirt or spots on them: not only will the stains set, but moths and other critters may be attracted to the soiled fabric.
One must off to bed now, as one has to wake up brutally early for a seminar on effective staff supervision in the church setting. One is going to need a buttload of coffee in the morning.
And how have you been? Are you Lenten purple?
Pigeons, I just had to share this with you.
I was at Logan Airport *wicked* early last week, getting through security with all the other half-asleep travelers. So I plunk all my stuff on the conveyer belt and take off my jacket and shoes and such, and I’m standing there waiting to go through the “Woo Hoo, You Can See Me Nekkid” disco box when a female TSA officer asks me if she can frisk me (she calls it something like a “mid-section pat down”). Sure, lady, whatever. That’s just fat in there, nothing exciting. She gets to my front pocket and pulls out a lipstick. “What is this?” she asks. Because we’re supposed to have emptied our pockets.
And I go, “That’s Christian Dior Lip Addict in Hollywood Rose.” She looks at me with an expression that, were I to interpret it, would go something like, “You are either the biggest idiot in the world or maybe just crazy. And yet I have a strange respect for your insanity.” She waves me through.
Well, she ASKED.