Religious and ministry professionals

Religious and ministry professionals

Religious and ministry professionals (see also pastoral therapists/counsellors and spiritual accompaniment when it becomes available) must be one of the most underrated groups in terms of value contribution. This could purely mean that there are notable limiting perceptions about this group. We hope to contribute to a different view of the value such professionals represent for different helping contexts.

Individuals in this group will typically register at SignoPro as existing professional bodies offer very limited scope of practice by virtue of either how they position themselves in the market (through their name, competency frameworks, the type of communities they associate with, and other factors). Even if some of these professional bodies accurately recognise the broader value and wanted to position their members broader they might struggle to accomplish it on theoretical and practical levels and for an array of other reasons.

This group consists of ministers, pastors, reverends, priests, rabbi’s or any role within related contexts that involves significant knowledge and skill around helping individuals, groups, communities advance. They have typically studied at higher education institutions or theological seminaries or schools for anything up from three years to eleven years at PhD level. Although, note that we make a distinction between  those with a basic theological degree of about four to six years (often two degrees) and those who studied further in any of the theological disciplines from a masters degree upwards (most notably for our interest as a professional body; the discipline of practical theology and more specifically pastoral care and counselling).

It is not uncommon for members of this group to have attained significant experience and exposure to an array of skills and roles that are in various ways translatable to other contexts outside of the church, parish, temple, or mosk. This includes public speaking, working with groups and teams, managing conflict and diversity, change processes, motivation and transformation, counselling, general coaching, mentoring and facilitation of meetings, visionary processes and much more.

It is also not uncommon that they would have exposure to a number of functional business areas, only within their immediate religious community context. Many of them, whether they like this or not, by virtue of their role have had to deal with or create internal Labour and Employee committees, am concerned with setting key performance metrics, considered implications of doing certain ministerial activities through trusts or other entities that also involve marketing, communications and public relations of such initiatives.

There are some caveats though that from a professional body perspective we hope to address. One such caveat is that professionals operating outside of their original context should acknowledge that their work in other places cannot have anything to do with dogma. No religious practitioner in a corporate organisation can be there with the intention to convert anyone or persuade them of scriptural or religious tenets. We also dissuade organisations to employ religious practitioners for such activities as it has a bearing on our role as a professional body. On the other hand these professionals are more likely to add value and deal with people from an holistic perspective. Our role is to help such professionals discern between their professional value and religious or ministry roles.

The dilemma in this group is not that they are not experienced or don’t know what they’re doing or that their training is not somehow related but that the client (outside of the religious context) don’t know what they will get when working with them. The inherent dilemma is one of communication of value and managing perceptions.

We therefore encourage members of this group to at least affiliate with SignoPro so that external or corporate clients (outside of the immediate religious context) can have the assurance of some needed aspects: That such professionals submitted themselves to undertaking a journey with us wherein they can grow, hone their value contribution, subscribe foundational ideas about client relationships, ethical practices, competency frameworks and indeed refine and formalise (if they wish) the coaching, facilitation and other skills that their roles undoubtedly requires of them.

At this stage they are invited to join our third development phase.

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