So you want to be a web geek for us? Many smaller churches jump at the opportunity to bring someone into the fold and help volunteer their time and talent. Yet in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Paul outlines some very specific things you should consider before bringing them into your ranks. How can you apply them to your website team?
Although serving on a web team is a little different than inviting in a pastor or making someone a church elder, a screening process should be in place. Their name will be attached to your church and your website. Even when it comes to volunteers, you should ask that they go through some sort of screening and "hiring" process before you just bring them on. Here are a few steps I would encourage you to take.
When someone applies for a position or requests to serve, ask for a résumé. This is the first piece of information you will gather to see what sort of person they are before you move on with the process.
- References: After you have a résumé in hand, if they appear to be qualified, move on to references. Ask for people in and out of the church so you can get a better feel for their personality and nature.
- Online Profiles: Examine any social media profiles and see what sort of content they are posting. Are they sharing nature photography, or self shots while drinking at a club? Granted we all make mistakes, but a history of bad decisions may want you to direct them to a support group before joining your web team.
- Criminal History: Luckily the church website is somewhat separate from many groups, as you can accomplish much of the work alone. But if there are any histories involved where you might feel somewhat uncomfortable with their having access to certain information; plan to limit their involvement. Access to personal data on other computer systems can, and should, be separate from your website information.
Of course you will want to interview them, preferably in person, and preferably with more than just yourself. While you are concentrating on questions and talking, the other person can be taking notes or watching their body language. I would encourage you to ask one or all of these questions.
- Motivation: I imagine you will inquire why they wish to serve on your team as a volunteer, or a part or full-time staff. Many times a job or time working on websites is far more lucrative than with a non-profit entity such as a church. So what is motivating them to do this?
- Spiritual Maturity: As Paul alluded to in scripture, make sure they are not too new of a believer. While you want new believers to find encouragement and connection with groups, serving in this capacity may not be 100% ideal. Yet give them the benefit of the doubt and ask some tough questions about their faith to see if they reached a level of maturity your team is comfortable with
- Social LIfe: If they are married, ask about the health of their marriage. Instead of joining a web team, their time may be better used in a counseling group. If they are not, inquire about their hobbies and spare time. If there are any questions raised by the investigation into their social media accounts, this would be the time to mention it.
The church should do what it can to help people free themselves to pursue a better relationship with Jesus. One opportunity may be offering a job or a volunteer position to someone in need of help. However, this article wants you to consider some of the tougher questions, and although you may not turn them away, you might direct them to ask for help in other areas of your church, or take a lesser role until they prove themselves. Regardless, you want to protect the reputation of your church and its many web properties. Follow the ideas in this article, and you will be one step further to a cohesive, Bible loving, Jesus following, website team.
Photo courtesy of Tara Bowen