Many churches have their annual meetings in December or January, and a big piece of the agenda is often election of new vestry members.
Maybe your church has a wealth of people wanting to serve on the Vestry.
Maybe your church has enough people, often the exact number as the open slots.
Maybe your church has to beat people over the head to get them to serve on the Vestry.
Here are some good rules to follow for leadership recruitment:
1. Those rotating off the Vestry can serve as the nominating committee. Plus the Rector/Vicar.
2. At a meeting (NOT a regular Vestry meeting), begin with prayer for discernment. Then sit down with your parish register and make some notes besides people's names:
a. Who has served within the last 2-3 years and therefore, still needs time off.
b. Who are newcomers to your church? Scratch them off the list of possibilities. Let them get incorporated in other ways before thrusting them onto the Vestry.
c. Who are current program leaders who are not on the Vestry? Which ones do you think may have a call to Vestry leadership? Be sure and check this with your clergy because they often have information about family situations that others do not have.
d. Who are current members/leaders who demonstrate maturity of faith and judgment? Which ones do you think may have a call to Vestry leadership? Be sure and check this with your clergy because they often have information about family situations that others do not have. Note that I say "maturity of faith and judgment."
e. Are there others who you think might have this call and haven't been scratched off the list?
3. Someone on the committee drafts a letter to these people inviting them to consider leadership on the Vestry. Carefully explain the commitment needed from them (meeting days, times and length, other obligations...) AND include what the congregation, wardens and clergy will do for them. Leadership is not a one-way street! Finally, ask for their prayerful consideration of the invitation and say that someone from the nominating committee will call them in a week to discuss.
Circulate the letter via email to others on the nominating committee for their input. Include the Rector/Vicar.
Pray for this list of people.
4. One week later, meet again. Pray. Discuss the list and decide if some people should be removed or others added. Review the letter. Pray. Decide which members of the committee will call which people on the list.
5. Mail the letter.
6. Make phone calls.
7. Re-group is you still do not have enough people to run in the election, and begin again.
This isn't an overnight task! Which is why I'm making this post in early November!
Carolyn Moomaw Chilton is a Congregational Consultant available to help you and your church with issues of leadership development, strategic planning, vestry retreats and staff development. You can contact her by replying to this post.