Job Opening: Director of Family & Children's Programs

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Valley & Mountain Director of Family & Children's Programs job description

Valley & Mountain seeks candidates who are passionate about supporting kids and their caregivers in cultivating ethical imagination, spiritual maturity, and courageous action.

Primary Role: Leading all aspects of Valley & Mountain’s mission related to the spiritual flourishing of children and support of caregivers. Read about us at:

Commitment to Diversity: We are situated in a wonderfully diverse neighborhood, and we seek to reflect that in our leadership, staff, and congregation. We especially encourage people of color and members of the LGBTQI community to apply.

Success on the Job: To be successful in this position, the person will need to fit into an organizational culture that places high value on authenticity, compassion, racial and economic justice, creative thinking, rapid change, personal relationships, fun, imperfection, and collaboration. An impressive variety of theological beliefs exist in our community, and we do not require dogmatic conformity, but we are committed to creating a more just and joyful world. Success at V&M comes from earning trust, creating loving space for belonging, seeking to in the rhythms of grace (unconditional love), and enabling others to do the same. The Director of F&C Programs will have a great deal of autonomy in their work, and will need to be comfortable leading, creating new systems, and communicating the purpose of their work to others. We value deep theology, but we welcome applicants without specific theological training.

Compensation: $1,000/month gross pay (6 paid Sundays off per year, no benefits)

Hours: Approximately 10 hours/wk. The primary time commitment is currently Sunday mornings (expected on site from 9:30am-12:30pm). Additional time will be spent crafting the Sunday morning program, communicating with volunteers, reading out to families, doing a weekly phone check-in with Convener, attending a monthly staff meeting, acquiring supplies, managing the physical space where programs happen, and attending occasional special events.

Reports to: Convener (our term for Lead Pastor)

Direct Reports: Nursery Attendant (not-yet-hired), V&M Kids Program volunteers (currently we have 12 volunteers who are the mainstay of the children’s program, and stewarding our relationship with these volunteers is critical to Sunday morning success)

Application and Hiring Process: Position is now open and applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Applications, cover letters, and references should be sent to Rev. John Helmiere at [email protected] with the subject heading “[Your Last Name here] - Director of F&C Application.” Please send application materials in pdf form and title them with the same formatting used in the subject heading: “[Your Last Name here] - Director of F&C Application/Cover Letter/References”

About the Church: V&M’s core values are: Deep Listening, Creative Liberation, and Radical Hospitality. Our theological roots are in liberation theology, contemplative practice, and mystical Christianity. Our The congregation is growing and currently has about 110 regularly participating adults, and 30+ children. We meet for Sunday services at the Hillman City Collaboratory, a multi-purpose justice, service, and arts center we co-founded in 2013. This means we must set up and take down our supplies each Sunday to allow for multiple other space users. Services start at 11:00am and last about 80 minutes. We average about 60 adults and 15 kids at Sunday services. Our services are emphatically family-friendly and children are incorporated into much of the experience, but we do offer a separate children’s program during the sermon (about 25 minutes) which is the primary responsibility of the new lead.  As there are children who self-identify as non-binary, our new children’s lead should be comfortable and supportive of LGBTQI concerns. The median age of the church is early 30’s. We are about 30% POC (in order of representation, we are Black, Asian-American, and Latinx), and 70% people of European descent. Our Board leadership is diverse and we are deeply committed to dismantling white supremacy and building the beloved community.

V&M is affiliated with the Pacific NW Conference of The United Methodist Church. We began as a “parachute drop” church plant in 2010, co-founded the Hillman City Collaboratory in 2013, launched our current weekly Sunday morning service in 2016, and in 2017 we chartered as a self-sustaining, official UMC church. We are in the slow process of starting a second congregation in a neighborhood about 30 minutes away (Ravenna) where we were given a building by a dying church. V&M is lightly staffed and does not have an administrator. Our previous Children’s Minister was our very first, and served on staff for 3 years. She left on excellent terms in order to pursue a calling as a lead pastor elsewhere.

Required Skills, Competencies, and Traits:

  • Love and care for children
  • Ability to cultivate a liberatory, non-dogmatic spiritual curiosity for kids (esp. K-5 kids). The “Godly Play” curriculum is one such example of a curriculum based in wonder and asking searching questions, rather than attempting to download doctrine into kids.
  • Creative lesson planner
  • Personal commitment to seeking spiritual maturity
  • Creativity and self-starter
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Capable of recruiting and managing volunteers
  • Desire to connect with parents/caregivers beyond just Sunday morning
  • Ongoing personal commitment to anti-racism work
  • Ongoing personal commitment to LGBTQI liberation work
  • Ongoing personal commitment to inclusivity for people with disabilities

Other Skills, Competencies, and Traits that would be particularly desirable

  • Organized and prepared educator
  • Theological education
  • Interest in seasonal/nature-connected activities for kids and families
  • Interest in liberation theology
  • Experience with arts education
  • Understanding of child psychology

Core Responsibilities:

  • Oversee the Sunday morning children’s program.
    • Arrive by 9:30am on Sundays for pre-service staff meeting.
    • Create or choose curriculum for pre-K and 1st-5th graders.
    • You may use "Godly Play" or other curriculum suitable for a progressive church. And ideally the program is connected to theme of Celebration for that Sunday.
    • Develop Nursery program and volunteers - this would be solely for toddlers and for the entire duration of the service for parents that desire it.
  • Recruit, train and coordinate Children’s Program volunteers.
  • Oversee Children’s Program space and materials.
    • Setting up and taking down the Children’s Program area.
    • Acquire materials and manage inventory of relevant supplies.
  • Minister with families
    • Write and schedule a 1-paragraph weekly note that goes out to all families (on Sunday afternoons) with 1-2 sentences telling them the topic of that morning’s children’s program, along with 1-2 questions they can ask their kids about it over dinner.
    • Contact to 2 families or volunteers each week to build a connection, give thanks, show support, and ask for feedback.
    • Engage with families, particularly newcomers on Sunday mornings.
    • Maintain quarterly communication/email for families to update them on upcoming schedule/programing
  • Oversee compliance with Safe Sanctuary policies.
    • Ensure background checks are done when new potential volunteers are engaged.
    • If there are problematic behaviors, communicate (graciously) with caregivers, and if necessary, Convener.

Ancillary Tasks:

  • Assist with providing or finding childcare for church meetings/programs that occur after service.
  • Review flyers about children’s and youth opportunities, such as summer camps sponsored by our denomination, and share opportunities that sound like they would appeal to our families (via announcements at services, newsletter blurbs, or personal outreach).
  • Contribute ideas of ways children, and eventually youth, can be more fully included, engaged and considered in Celebration and other V&M programming.
  • Assist with implementation of the ideas that are adopted.

*See the "Application and Hiring Process" paragraph above for instructions on applying*