Glenn Melville directs the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning, the go-to place for church and mission leaders (paid and volunteer) for ongoing learning and new skills. Glenn has also been a Baptist pastor and has done extensive research in the area of pastor care.

Following on from Neil Bakeru2019s article last week, where he shared his personal supervision experience as a Baptist pastor, this article unpacks what Neil referred to as External Supervision Support u2013 one of the pillars of Baptist Registration for our pastoral leaders, chaplains, ministry/mission leaders, Kaiu0101rahi Mu0101ori and Baptist entity leaders.

Background

In August 2022, the Baptist Union of New Zealand (BUNZ) Assembly Council approved the Baptist Leaders Registration Review Panelsu2019 recommendation for changes to the supervision requirements for Baptist Registrants (read more in the September 2022 article: A new chapter for Baptist Registration). Previously, registrants could choose a supervisor regardless of their knowledge of or training in the field of ministry supervision, or consideration if the supervisor was internal/external to the workplace. This is no longer regarded as best practice; hence the new requirement that by 2025, all registrants will be required to meet with a BUNZ approved external supervisor who is qualified/trained in ministry supervision.

Why External Supervision Support?

External supervision is defined as someone who is not the superviseeu2019s line-manager or has any direct assessment of the superviseeu2019s performance. This is considered best practice as it provides a neutral and safe place for the supervisee to reflect on practice and disclose any personal issues as they arise. External supervision helps mitigate the problem of power dynamics that can be present with line management supervision. Additionally, having approved supervisors is considered best practice to ensure that supervisors have the qualifications, training, and experience needed to provide quality supervision that supports practitioner wellbeing, professional development, safe and ethical practice, and reflective learning (the four aims of Baptist Supervision).

In particular, supporting registrants to maintain safe and ethical practice is deemed crucial, when considering the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in the Care of faith-based institutions in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

How has the BUNZ developed the process for recruiting, training, and approving supervisors?

The process and policies related to recruiting, training, and approving supervisors have been informed by reviewing established approaches such as the Queensland Baptists, Anglican Church of Australia, and Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, as well as consulting with qualified and experienced New Zealand supervision practitioners.

To provide affordable, professional supervision for the more than 300 Baptist Registrants, the BUNZ has developed two pathways to becoming an approved Baptist supervisor:

1.     Where the applicant has approved qualifications* and a minimum of two years experience supervising, with at least one person from a ministry context, they can attend an online orientation session.

2.     Where the applicant does not have approved qualifications and/or does not have the minimum required experience, they can attend a free 3-day training course developed by the BUNZ. Note that those who undertake this training agree to offer supervision for no more than $70 per session to provide affordable supervision for Baptist Registrants.

Following orientation/training, applicants are required to apply to the Supervisor Approval Panel, which consists of 3-5 members, including the Leadership Co-ordination Director (Baptist National Support Centre), Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning Director (Carey Baptist College), and supervision practitioners.

In 2023, the BUNZ approved 90 supervisors through two pilot 3-day training courses and several online orientation sessions. Based on the learnings from these, further training and orientation will be made widely available in 2024. From November 2023, those who are interested in becoming a BUNZ approved supervisor will be invited to complete an expression of interest application, which will be assessed by the approval panel as to suitability to attend the training in 2024.

Alongside the training, the BUNZ has developed an External Supervision Support Agreement, a Process and Policy Manual, and an Annual Review Process for ongoing accountability. Further information is available on the BUNZ Leadership Hub and the Lifelong Learning website.

*A recognised qualification for the purposes of determining eligibility includes:

>> A supervision qualification from a recognised training institution, e.g., Certificate in Supervision 

>> A recognised qualification in the Health Sciences, e.g., psychology, counselling.


Photo: From National Baptist Hui 2022, by Charl Louw

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