I have a bone to pick. First of all, that is a funny phrase, "bone to pick" apparently its origins are simply about dogs gnawing on bones for a long time (pick a good one, I guess).
The bone is with my beloved church. Not my local church, but the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The deeper I move into my pastoral career, the more clear I am that I am called to work with children and youth (forever, not just a stepping stone to more "important" ministry). I love them, and I love my church that I have been a part of for a lifetime. As a denomination, we're shrinking, getting smaller- and it's not just us- most mainline, American denominations are doing the same. I understand that that means cuts, and less staff but I'm a little fired up about Youth and Children's Ministries.
We haven't had a full time staff member for at the denominational level for youth in many years- I wasn't even old enough in ministry to get up in arms about that because I didn't know what was happening. For the years that followed we at least had a staff person whose job it was to work with Youth Ministries- then more and more was added to that job description and eventually then that staff position was eliminated all together. To my knowledge, there is no one at the general church level whose job it is to work with youth ministry in our denomination. That doesn't mean there aren't amazing things happening for youth ministry in our denomination (check out DYMN if you don't already know about it), but there is not a lot happening officially at the general church.
A few months ago, the staff person for Children and Family Ministries for the denomination retired. She was wonderful, I really admire Kaye Edwards. At the time her retirement was announced I thought- "that would be a really cool job to have." So when the position was announced I decided I would look into it. I wasn't happy with what I found.
Instead of a full time staff member DHM plans to hire three part time people to take on this job. They want these people (at least the first two they are hiring) to work about 18 hours a week. I read through the job description- I loved it. I have all the skills required to advocate and educate as the denomination desires.
But in that 18 hours a week they want the candidate not only to be in the office, but also they would like the person to work nights and weekends and travel "extensively" when required. In 18 hours a week? Really?
Also, I noticed that ordination is not a requirement for this job- or even a preference. Hmmmm...really?
I am not independently wealthy enough to be able to afford to apply for this job. Which is a bummer, because I would be really, really good at it.
Church, I'm sad that we aren't able to value our children and youth as much as we should- or even as much as we say we do. We have to look at how we spend our money and time and not enough is being spent on our children and youth- who are not, by the way, not the future of the church, but the NOW of the church.
And yes, I would like some cheese with that whine...
After Charlottesville: Not Enough
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