Value that translates into skills on your ministry resume
Organizational leaders and employers are beginning to understand the value of non-traditional education and experiences. Interestingly, it is not technical skills that seem to be the object of demand in today’s market. Research spanning some 20 years demonstrates that personality, and good interpersonal skills are strongly related to employment success and promotion (Howard & Bray, 1990; Hartmann, Larsen & Nyborg, 2009). These attributes are sometimes referred to as people skills, interpersonal skills, or soft skills. People who exhibit these qualities are described as self-aware, good communicators, having the ability to negotiate, initiate conflict resolution, seekers of mutual understanding, and being good team-players (Baker, 2009).
Shouldn’t all of these qualities already describe Christians?
Leading Church Ministry by Virtual Teams
The growing demand for people skills is likely due to the increase in communication opportunities on personal, local, national and even global levels –virtual global teams. The current progression of online collaboration technology is ushering a global economy that is revolutionizing the ways in which organizations communicate. One example is the practice of using teams to meet objectives. This is becoming a common approach to modern productivity methods. Even more so, virtual teams are rising to levels of great interest to secular management. Such teams are characterized by selected groups of people who work together toward mutual objectives across the boundaries of time, space, and geographical locations. These are opportunities for ministry that the Apostles could have only dreamed of having.
A survey of more than 375 managers revealed that about “20% of the managers worked predominantly as a member of a virtual team, and about 40% worked at least temporarily in virtual teams” (Hertel, Konradt, & Voss, 2006, p. 478). These numbers are from 2006, which means that they are old by now. The implication is that far more managers are now working in virtual environments. The popularity of these teams is attributed to the interconnectedness of people from every part of the world that has generated a global marketplace that is now managed by global virtual teams. With the widespread availability of communication technology, these connections are expected to continue rising. As a response to contemporary business needs, even universities are beginning to require students to work together on teams in preparation for their careers. Some schools are even requiring their residential students to take one online class every semester. As Choi, Deek and Im (2009) demonstrate, well suited teams tend to make better quality decisions. Interestingly, this success is attributed to proper selection and inclusion of team members with diverse personality factors.
Implications for Christian Ministers
1. The way in which technology is advancing creates new opportunities for ministry that churches have not even remotely tapped. Ministers looking for places to advance the kingdom of God should consider this rich soil just waiting to be harvested.
2. Working on virtual teams offers fresh perspectives to ministry, develops new communication skills, technical knowledge, and experience which is valued by contemporary employers.
3. The National Association of Christian Ministers values the ministerial training opportunities made available by virtual ministry teams using online collaboration. For these reasons, we offer online theology courses that require participation on virtual teams; thereby, developing skills to face modern needs in ministry.