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Human Resource

Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. This month, we’re curating a series on NEXT Church resources. Members of the NEXT Church communications team, staff, and advisory team are selecting resources already on our site and sharing the ways they have (or would) use them in their ministry context. We pray these will be of use to you in your own ministry! Have other ideas for resources you’ve used from our website? We invite you to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

by Charlene Han Powell

I’ve been involved in the NEXT Church movement since the beginning-ish. It used to be a small group of people sitting around a few tables talking about what the church could be. Fast forward to a few years later and now it is comprised of hundreds of people around a number of tables across the country talking about what the church is already becoming. Dreams have become realities. Hopes have been realized. NEXT Church is a movement that is making a difference in the church.  I can personally testify to that.

When NEXT Church was in the early stages of its ministry, so was I. Not yet ordained. Not yet called. Not yet employed. I didn’t even know what resources I needed to be a good pastor. I just knew I needed some support and fellowship for this long and often lonely journey. I have found that in the NEXT Church community. Every regional gathering I attend, every conference I go to, every workshop I participate in, I walk away feeling less crazy and less isolated in this vocation.  The most valuable resource that NEXT Church has offered me are the people I have met and the relationships I have formed.

But the human resource I have found in NEXT Church is more than just companionship. When I needed to reimagine officer training* this past year, I reached out to my network of colleagues I have met over the years at the National Gathering. When I was navigating a recent job transition, I connected with those in NEXT Church who had gone through the same thing. When I am stuck in any sort of ministry-related rut, I rely on the wisdom and experience of this amazing community of passionate and capable leaders.

The best part about utilizing this valuable resource within NEXT Church is that all YOU have to do is show up. Next time we are in your area, show up. If there is an online roundtable that piques your interest, show up. When registration for the National Gathering goes live, SIGN UP and then show up. And get ready to reap the unbelievable benefits of this fantastic movement.

*Stay tuned – we’re offering a blog series on officer training next month! 


Charlene Han Powell is the Executive Pastor at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in midtown Manhattan. Originally from California, Charlene is a proud New Yorker raising two young girls on the Upper West Side.

Vocational Discernment Paradigm, Part 3

Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. This month will focus on the art of coaching and the practice of ministry. Some posts will layout insights or frameworks of coaching and some will be stories of coaching that transformed a pastor or congregation. We hope they will inspire you. We hope that inspiration will turn into actual movement in your own life and ministry so that we might move closer to that vision of the church we long for, closer to the vision of the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We invite you to join the conversation here, on Facebook, or Twitter!

by Peter Hazelrigg

In the first section of this blog post, we looked at the question “who are you called to BE?,” as the first step to yield sustainable success and personal satisfaction in a career. Then, we explored the second component: knowing the networks we exist within. Today we open up the final building block – Doing.

Hazelrigg pictureDO: Once there is some clarity about who we are and how we like to be and interact, once we have cultivated our network and explored what we know and what we want to learn, it is time to do a more formal job search process.

I often find that professionals have an easier time finding work they can do, but it is harder to find work they want to do. Finding work is more than just matching skill with a position. When job hunting, there is a lot we can’t know from a job description. What is my boss like? What is the culture of the organization? How does this company invest in the development of it’s people? Are there opportunities to advance? With whom will I be working?

All good questions. And those questions should come from understanding what will be important for us based on our experiences, values, stylistic preferences, and other factors uncovered at the Being level. When we get to the point that we are ready to do a search for a particular position, many of the established search skills come into play – writing cover letters and resumes, interview skills, researching target companies, etc. These skills are well documented and often the place where people begin the process of a job search. However, asking the question “what am I going to do?” might look a lot different if we first do the hard work of answering the question, “who am I called to be?” There is no shortcut to creating sustainable success and personal satisfaction. That is the hard work of vocational discernment today.


Hazelrigg headshotRev. Peter Hazelrigg is senior partner at the Pilgrimage Professional Development Group, www.pilgrimpro.com.

Vocational Discernment Paradigm, Part 2

Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. This month will focus on the art of coaching and the practice of ministry. Some posts will layout insights or frameworks of coaching and some will be stories of coaching that transformed a pastor or congregation. We hope they will inspire you. We hope that inspiration will turn into actual movement in your own life and ministry so that we might move closer to that vision of the church we long for, closer to the vision of the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We invite you to join the conversation here, on Facebook, or Twitter!

by Peter Hazelrigg

Yesterday, we looked at the question, “Who are you called to BE?as the first step to yield sustainable success and personal satisfaction in a career. Today, we explore the second component: knowing.

KNOW: Once there is some clarity around the difficult question of Being, there is an opportunity to do some mapping toward a better path of satisfaction and sustainability. That mapping has two primary components – the who and the what.

Hazelrigg picturePart of finding opportunities that align with your values and preferences is your network – who you know. Depending on the kind of opportunity you are considering, your current network can be very helpful. As an example, if you are considering a move to a different position within the same company, your network is likely already in place. If you are considering an opportunity in a different industry all together, then you likely need to do some work developing your network to be able to connect with people where you are interested in exploring. The best time to build a network, by the way, is before you need it. Building a network to find a job when you are unemployed can be much more challenging. New connections in a network are easier to develop when you don’t “need” anything. Need-based networking is necessary at times, but networking for mutual benefit is often more sustainable and impactful.

Our networks can be thought of in at least three parts: natural, intentional, and strategic.

Our natural network is the constellation of people we come into contact with because of the circles we connect with day to day. A vendor you work with is in your network, because you have a natural reason to interact because of the work you do. A friend from your running club is in your network, because you have regular shared experience together. People in your natural network take very little effort to connect with, because we naturally come in contact with them. Cultivating this part of your network then is really a matter of thinking about our conversations and interactions with increased intentionality and curiosity.

Our intentional networks are the varieties of people that used to be in our natural network. There was a time when someone you went to school with was in your natural network, you saw them regularly and had shared experience. After you graduated and moved to different locations, if that person is going to remain connected to you, you must be intentionality to your interactions with them because they no longer just happen. There are people that we do this with, and there are many more that we have “lost touch with” over the years. This is one of the best uses of social media like Facebook and LinkedIn. It can help use find and reconnect with people who were part of our network previously. Most of the time, since these people are known to you, it doesn’t take much to reconnect and open up a connection. A little research and thought will help you develop an intentional, and mutually beneficial, network.

The last aspect of a network is the strategic network. The strategic network is the identification of the people, kinds of positions, and fields that you would like to have connections in, but don’t currently. For example, you may be considering moving from a job in accounting to a career in healthcare. After looking at your natural and intentional network for people in these areas, you identify that expanding connections to the healthcare field will be important. The strategic network becomes possible in a couple of ways. First, is to leverage your natural and intentional network to see who can help connect you to people in healthcare. The second, is to identify ways to create contact with people in the healthcare space. That might mean requesting a meeting with an HR officer in a healthcare organization to learn more about opportunities (this is different than applying for a position). These kinds of informational meetings can often result in other people to contact, thus building your network through a more organic connection of being referred by someone internal to the organization.

One way of assessing your network is by doing a methodical network analysis. As you look at your web of connections, think about the strength of those connections (and your connections’ connections). This can help you be more intentional about the relationships you develop and the conversations you have and might seek out.

The other part of knowing is what you know and what you might need to know moving forward. The most obvious part of this is to consider your education, formal training, and previous experiences. How do those things you already know influence what you might like to do. Are there things that you wish you knew, but haven’t learned yet? What education, training, or experience would you like to have? How can you get exposed to those things to see if it would be a benefit for your future work opportunities. Many times when people are changing industries, there is some formal education or training that is needed. Sometimes people discount the life experience they have had and how to leverage that in exploring new career options.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the final building block — doing.


Hazelrigg headshotRev. Peter Hazelrigg is senior partner at the Pilgrimage Professional Development Group, www.pilgrimpro.com.