Hiring and leading church staff can be one of the greatest challenges for an Executive Pastor. It’s also worth the effort. When we lead people well and help them develop into better versions of themselves, our churches and the Kingdom benefit. When we ignore staff development, we will experience a revolving door of staff due to lack of fulfillment and burnout. Does this feel a little too close to home?
If you need some additional motivation, Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” The Bible also says, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” (Proverbs 11:14) Letting our staff figure out how to be more effective all by themselves is not smart, but this is how many churches operate.
Letting our staff operate in ‘Lone Ranger’ mode is never a wise choice.
Today I’d like for you to consider four questions about developing your church staff.
- Why is it important and how could it impact our ministry? Having the right people in the right roles is essential for ministry success. If you don’t set expectations, employees and staff members will struggle with their responsibilities and probably grow frustrated in their positions. High turnover could decrease the trust of your church members and prevent you from finding qualified candidates in the future. While you might feel the pressure to hire quickly, you will save a lot of time, energy, and effort over the long run by being very intentional in your hiring processes.
- Who is responsible for developing our church staff? Your executive or administrative pastor should guide the human resources area of the church or ministry. Depending upon the size of the organization, you might find it helpful to employ a staff member with human resources training, experience, and certification.
- Where do we start? The best place to start is to set expectations for the culture within your staff and lead by example. Provide clear expectations for each staff member and help them understand their role in the greater mission of your church. Create a culture of evaluation where you regularly provide your staff with positive and constructive feedback for their roles and ask for feedback on your leadership.
- Then what? Once you have set clear expectations and established evaluations standards, establish an annual staff development budget for every member of your team. Communicate this budget to your ministry leaders and let them know that you expect them to use it and provide reporting on how it helped their people get better. Encourage people to be intentional and proactive with this money. Don’t just let them waste it on conference boondoggles. Ensure it is used with a ‘return on investment’ mindset.
We need to be at our best when it comes to developing and equipping our staff with what they need to succeed in their roles. The cost of not doing this is far greater than we realize. More importantly, any organization with poor staff culture will, at best, simply survive. Many won’t make it at all!
How much do you invest in staff development each year?