Position Description

Title:   Minister for Christian Formation

Type of Position:   Full-time

Christian formation is a lifelong spiritual journey.  Swarthmore Presbyterian Church offers Christian formation programs for every stage of life from infancy through adulthood.  Given that faithful discipleship takes place in every sphere of our lives, Christian formation should be multi-disciplinary across the arts and sciences as well as rooted in biblical and theological studies.  It takes place in the classroom, the sanctuary, our homes, the outdoors, and the community.  We strive to engage the whole person, in developmentally appropriate ways, through different modes of activity, such as service learning, study, reflection, conversation, artistry, music-making, and recreation.  In our desire to become spiritually mature disciples of Christ in a religiously diverse world, we value questions as much as answers, and we believe that a family of faith is responsible for offering a range of experiences that both nurture and challenge us in our faith formation.

Swarthmore Presbyterian Church (SPC) seeks a Minister for Christian Formation to be responsible for the program area of Christian Formation, which spans Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Adult Education.  We seek a minister, lay or ordained, who exhibits a mature Christian faith and a strong sense of call to serve and build up the whole church.  This person will have the heart and skills of a teacher and will relate well with persons of all ages.  S/he will have the desire and ability to work in a pastoral and collegial manner with the staff, Session, and congregation to the end that God will be glorified and the body of Christ will be built up.

SPC has a tradition of prioritizing the Christian formation of youth and children. We know the significance of raising up future generations of faithful disciples.  According to the results of the US Congregational Survey, one of SPC’s most important values relative to other congregations is in “caring for young people,” where we rank in the 79th percentile nationally (as compared with 16 percentile for Presbyterian churches nationally and 20 percentile for all other congregations).  Over the past 12 years, our Youth Ministry has grown into a nationally recognized program.  We seek a Minister who will build upon this tradition and utilize the resources that SPC has committed to the Christian formation of our children and youth to grow the church in measurable ways.  

Qualifications:  Candidates may be ordained or lay persons.  We seek theologically trained candidates who have a Master of Divinity or Master’s degree in Christian Education or in Theological Studies from an accredited institution.  Although candidates may have different denominational backgrounds, candidates must be knowledgeable in biblical interpretation, Reformed theology, Presbyterian polity, and Worship and Sacraments, consistent with Presbyterian polity and tradition, in addition to the subject matters of human growth and development and religious education theory and practice. We seek candidates who have relevant professional or volunteer experience.       Candidates must be highly organized and responsible.


Accountability:   The Minister for Christian Formation is directly responsible to the Pastor as Head of Staff, and s/he will work closely with the Session and other staff members.  The Minister for Christian Formation will supervise the Program Manager for Christian Formation and any summer youth trip leaders.

Responsibilities: The Minister for Christian Formation is responsible for leading the

entire program area of Christian Formation for Swarthmore Presbyterian Church

to be aligned with and to further the mission and growth of SPC.  

The Minister for Christian Formation is expected to develop the benchmarks, curricula, and programs for Christian Formation that are informed by current research and best practices in Christian education and by the developmental stages of children, adolescents, and young adults.

S/he is expected to plan, develop, direct, and, with teams of lay leaders, lead the

Christian Formation programs of the church in accordance with the policies and

direction of the Session and in collaboration with the pastors, staff, Session committees, and program volunteers.  Working closely with and supervising the Program Manager of Christian Formation, s/he is responsible for ensuring strong administration, communication, and program management of the whole program area of Christian Formation.  

In addition, s/he is expected to assist in worship leadership, preaching, counseling, and

pastoral care, and other duties that may be assigned from time to time.  Specific duties

are as follows:  

❖ Children’s and Youth Ministry (75% time)

● Serve as pastor to the children, youth, and their families.

● Establish regular communication with youth and families, effectively utilizing current technologies.  

● Develop, implement, and grow a Sunday School program for the children (birth thru 7th grade) of the church.

● Plan, teach, and lead the confirmation program.  Recruit and resource the confirmation teaching team.

● Guide and support the Children’s and Youth Ministry Committee.  

● Oversee the Children’s and Youth Ministry budgets, in consultation with the Children’s and Youth Ministry Committee.

● Recruit and train volunteer leaders of programs.

● Develop Christian leadership among youth and identify opportunities for them to share their spiritual gifts within the life of church, the larger denomination, and the interfaith community.

● Plan and lead children’s and youth programs, including weekly Middle School Youth Group, regular events for high-schoolers, service-learning opportunities, and interfaith programs.  

● Develop and lead children’s and youth summer programs, including Vacation Bible School, youth mission trips, and youth conferences.  

● Serves as staff liaison to the Swarthmore Presbyterian Nursery Day School Advisory Committee, facilitating a collaborative and fluid relationship between the church and the nursery day school, wherever appropriate.

● Maintain relationships with SPC youth after high school graduation as they transition into young adulthood.  Encourage them to engage in congregations and ecumenical and interfaith ministries beyond SPC.

❖ College Ministry (5% time)

● Develop a campus ministry presence at Swarthmore College, in collaboration with Interfaith Center at Swarthmore College and Partners in Ministry.

● Engage college students and young adults in the ministries of SPC, including youth and children’s ministries.  

❖ Adult Education (10% time)

● Support, and guide the Adult Education Committee in its work to provide weekly Sunday programs and special programs, such as the Theologian-in-Residence.

● Support the Adult Education Committee to develop programs that further promote the missional direction of SPC, by engaging with local entities like Partners in Ministry, the Interfaith Council of Southern Delaware County, and Swarthmore College.

● Oversee the Adult Education budget, in consultation with Adult Education Committee.  

● Serve as a teacher of adult education classes, when appropriate and available.

❖ Worship Leadership (10% time)

● Prepare and lead worship (varying services) on a regular basis.

● Prepare and work with the youth to lead worship on Youth Sunday, Christmas Eve, and etc.

❖ Service to the Larger Church (to be determined)

● Participate in the life of the larger church.

● Engage in interfaith relationships and collaborations.

Estimated Schedule of Weekly Time to Meet Job Expectations:

Staff meetings:  3 hours

Program area staff meetings:  2 – 3 hours

Communication:  3 hours

Committee leadership and resourcing:  7 hours

Lay leader training and resourcing:  6 – 8 hours

Preparing and teaching confirmation:  3 hours

Planning and leading middle school and high school youth ministries:  7

Planning and leading children’s programs:  3

Preparing and leading worship:  4 – 8 hours

Pastoral care focused on families with children and youth:  3 hours

Total:  43-48 hours per week

For More Information or to Apply:

Send letter of inquiry and resume to:

Doug McCullough

Co-chair, Minister for Christian Formation Search Committee

Swarthmore Presbyterian Church

[email protected]

120 Columbia Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081

215.280.4568 (mobile)