This has now officially been announced as a mistake: (Christian) Vocation Advisers wanted
It is a pretty astonishing mistake to make, for not only is the lack of a Christian commitment crystal clear in the advert, but also implicit in the role description and person specification.
You might think that the clue is in the word “vocation”. It means a call, and in traditional church use, the identity of the primary caller was taken to be God. It was therefore a little strange already when the Archbishop’s Council announced a target of increasing ordinations by 50% by 2020 (PDF here). Who exactly is going to carry out God’s performance appraisal if he fails to meet this target? Being charitable (and telling my inner outdated traditionalist to “shut up”), I assumed that this was primarily about developing new ways to help people (and especially younger people) see that God could be calling someone like them. This might be an invitation or challenge they would never hear unless it was presented in fresh ways, with some imaginative resourcing. It might also be the case that the church, in exercising discernment for what God was calling people to, needed to be less hidebound by traditional patterns of education, or inherited models of ministry. All of that might offer interesting and rewarding routes for exploration. However, if the church really believes the vocation comes from God, setting targets for increases in vocations seem, shall we say, at least mildly presumptuous. But perhaps the Church of England no longer believes vocations are from God. Perhaps it’s just a job in the church. For it has now advertised for a National Young Vocations Adviser. God is optional.
We are looking for someone who can create change by inspiring and supporting others in a wide network with a strong track record of delivery. Professional knowledge of Millennial Christianity and/or recruitment marketing would be an advantage. This role does not have an occupational requirement to be a Christian. (My emphasis) You need knowledge of recruitment and marketing technique to encourage people to what has traditionally been presented as responding to God’s call. You have to persuade people to answer an invitation from someone you don’t have to believe is there to offer one. Who needs faith when you’ve got marketing technique? In fact, if you look at the desirable characteristics of the role, the person will ideally have:
Knowledge of the characteristics of the Millennial generation, how they understand career-paths and/or faith (my emphasis again) After that, I can only end in gobsmacked speechlessness.