By Melissa Wuske
A minister transition is a challenging time for a church, to say the least.
“It is financially expensive, it requires a significant increase of energy and involvement, it strains relationships, and it is a clear and present threat to ministry momentum,” said Rick Shonkwiler of the Christian Church Leadership Network.
And the process is not easy on ministers either.
For churches, “Our team of experienced church leaders can assist your elders and search team to conduct a feasibility study, create a job posting and description, develop a compensation package, identify quality candidates, conduct interviews and trial weekends, and navigate the hiring and onboarding processes,” Shonkwiler said.
Support with the process of finding the right fit has clear benefits: “It allows your church and staff to focus on prayer and ministry in your local context,” he said.
For ministers, FYNM helps develop confidence and match their gifts and strengths to the right opportunity, with an appropriate compensation package.
Not only does the team shepherd the interview and hiring process, but they also provide coaching for the first 6 to 12 months of the transition—for the church leadership and the new staff person.
“A good beginning is critical to a long-term, effective, season of ministry,” Shonkwiler said.
The result is longevity for the church and the minister—which benefits kingdom ministry.
That longevity is desperately needed.
“In a national study conducted by the Center for Church Leadership, 43 percent of ministers were seriously considering dropping out of ministry,” Shonkwiler said. “In a similar survey, it was found that 7 out of 10 men or women who began serving a church in a paid position were out of the ministry in 10 years.” And all these were from Restoration Movement churches.
“With this kind of turnover, and the unique position of Restoration Movement churches on the high values of the unity of all believers and the authority of Scripture, we saw a need to help align staff and church leadership for more effective and God-honoring ministry.”
FYNM, along with the Christian Church Leadership Network, is dedicated to the health of Restoration Movement churches and their leaders. While similar services cover a broader range of churches, Restoration churches can benefit from a more focused approach.
“We pay close attention to a church’s theological perspective and its leadership makeup,” Shonkwiler said. This helps make a strong match—with a quicker, smoother process for the church and the new minister.
“So much of what the church does is dependent on the relationship of the church staff with the church leaders,” Shonkwiler said. With FYNM, both churches and staff can avoid a bad fit and all the frustration that comes from it.
“I want to see a thriving Christian church in every community, reaching people with the transforming message of Jesus,” Shonkwiler said. “FYNM lays a great foundation for that to happen.”
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, and their son, Caleb, live and minister in Cincinnati. Find her work online at melissaannewuske.com.