“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” (Revelations 14:12)
1. Don’t beg, plead or blackmail people to run for the parish council. Persuade them that it is a holy calling to service and that you will make
every effort to make the job interesting and fulfilling.
2. Make an effort to change parish practice from accepting nominations from the floor. It’s rolling dice. Rather, announce four weeks before the General Assembly that nominations are open. “Please submit your candidate’s name to the Nominating Committee so we have the opportunity to ensure that they are in good standing and that they understand the duties and responsibilities of service before they are possibly elected. We will not be accepting nominations from the floor.”
3. Then selectively recruit. Determine what skills are needed on the parish council at the present time and in the coming year or two. Is it an accountant? A website manager? An attorney? A philanthropist? A construction manager? Use the Stewardship Advocates “Parish Council Member Profile Grid” to ascertain this.
4. Ideally, recruit for commitment to the mission of the parish and not for clan, tribal or political representation. Avoid creating lifetime voting members and ex officio representatives at all cost – they become either nominal members or crushingly dominant.
5. If a capital campaign approaches, then recruit for wealth. It is a proven fact that people give to the degree that they are involved in an organization. All parish council members need to understand and accept that giving generously according to ability and fundraising will be part of the responsibilities.
6. Recruit strategically. What do you wish to become as a parish? What is your preferred future?
7. After election ensure engagement from the start by orienting new members to the operational side of parish life and by giving them the parish council member’s notebook, reviewing the materials with them. See Stewardship Advocates’ Library item on this subject. Get them informed! Otherwise, it can take months for them to grasp the ways, means and purposes of the parish council.
8. Soon after election, hold a one-day Saturday retreat for the parish council and selected senior employees. See Stewardship Advocates article on this subject.
9. Together with the parish council chairperson ensure that meetings are interesting, stimulating, substantive and focused on the higher level of parish council responsibility rather than endless managerial and tactical issues, though often this in unavoidable. The higher level includes strategic planning, advocacy, financial oversight, policy formulation, fundraising, ongoing parish council development, and above all, keeping the focus on fulfilling the mission of the parish.
10. Recruit year round. The parish council has the potential to be your greatest asset.