Objective of Every Church Staff: Living Epistles, 2 Cor. 3:3
"You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
Leading a staff is a dynamic, relational, highly spiritual and biblical process. Most churches are program-driven, even with their staff. They're utilitarian, instead of relational. Yet staff relationships are meant to 2 Cor. 3:3, in that they reflect the care and nurture that the church leaders want the rest of the church to themselves. Just as genuine "koinonia" is envisioned with the Body of Christ, the same fellowship should exist within the church staff.
This is what gives the staff credibility with the people. People will listen because they see genuineness and transparent care among the staff. It builds trust, security, and sets the standard of care for the rest of the congregation.
Seven Key Success Factors in Church Staffing:
Cultural Values: What are the cultural values that are important to your church organization? In other words, what are the values that are important to you as you live together and work together as a staff? Let me suggest a few:
Personality Types: An extrovert and an introvert are like two different animals: one loves being with people—it charges their batteries, the other needs solitude in order to be healthy. Are you sensitive to the God-given personalities of the people on your staff?
1. Does your assistant need every fact in order to understand the situation or can he interpret facts, add correct meaning and be intuitive?
2. Do people on your staff prefer a logical rationale for making a decision or are they motivated by the cause and the passion?
3. Are your people quick to make decisions—they need closure, or are they always open to new ideas and new information?
These are the issues that make staff life complex and understanding personalities can help smooth the terrain. Consider using the Myers-Briggs diagnostic tool.
Generational Differences: Do you have mostly baby-boomers on your staff or a bunch of Gen-xers? Are there potential conflicts in the way the generations relate to the world around them? You bet there are. Staff members of varying generations enjoy different rewards, schedules and environments.
Coaching: Learn how to be a top-notch coach. Jesus ed coaching as he lived with and discipled the twelve. Not only will it enrich your own life, but you will be making an investment in the Kingdom that will outlast you.
Motivation: It’s been said that the best way to motivate people is to find out what they want and what they need to be successful and to help them get it. Key factors in motivation:
3. Adequate Direction
Evaluate Performance: Churches do a really bad job of this—maybe its because we value grace and unity so much that we tend to shy away from situations that can cause conflict. We need to schedule regular performance appraisals. Find a system that works for you and use it consistently. It doesn't have to be complex, it just has to open the door to honest dialogue.
Handling Problem People: Create a comprehensive assesment of the problem staff member. Don’t simply label him or her as “difficult.” Explore three factors instead:
1. The employee: Through informal conversations, discern what drives him, what’s blocking the right drives, and what potential could be realized if obstacles were removed.
2. Yourself: How might you be frustrating or bringing out the person’s worst? Ask him and his colleagues to describe how you come across. This could be a catharsis—you might learn something that could vastly improve your leadership effectiveness.
3. The situation: What may need to be changed—what can be changed? Can there be realignment? Reorganization? Could it be the right person in the wrong position?
Reframe your goals. Replace predetermined “solutions” – be open to a menu of possibilities. Ask questions. Flexibility can yield surprisingly helpful solutions.
Stage the encounter: In a face-to-face meeting, affirm the person’s value to your staff, describe the problem as you see it, assert things can’t continue this way, and state your desire for a mutually beneficial outcome. Then test hunches about ways to leverage the person’s passion for work and ministry. Watch for unexpected areas of agreement – then draw out ideas that could create common ground. To avoid another “yes, boss” encounter, don’t “sell” your viewpoint- listen as much as you talk.
When you liberate people’s inherent motivation, you boost morale by demonstrating that you’re willing to work through difficulties, not simply discard people.