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Staffing, Staffing, Start Here
What if you could create the perfect work atmostphere at your church?  One that made your staff really happy and really successful?  An atmosphere that promoted teamwork, taking risk, and enabling leadership?  What if…? I think much of what your staff thinks about you (personally) and your church (corporately), they’ll learn in the first few months.  It’s important for the senior leader to set the tone and make a great first impression.  In fact, if you don’t get off to a great start in the first few months, the chances of having a well-rounded, long-term staff member are reduced significantly.  They’ll simply find another place to serve after a couple of years.  It happens all the time. But how do you start off a good relationship with a new employee?  What if you send something like this to your new staff member.  In this case, we’ll call him Bob.

Dear Bob,

I am so glad to have you here with us on staff.  I know that you and your family will be a great addition to our team here at [your church name].  On your first day, I wanted to share a few things that may help you feel a little more at home with us as a church, and with me, personally:

1.  My most important priority is your happiness and ministry here at the church. If there’s anything I can do to make you happier and more efficient, tell me right away. This isn’t idealism, it’s good ministry, because happy and fulfilled people are more productive in their Kingdom work.

2.  I will not burden you with endless rules and regulations. You’re an adult. I trust you to use your best judgment.

3.  You have my full permission to screw up, as long as you own up to it, apologize to those affected and learn from it.

4.  Please tell me when I screw up so I can apologize and learn from it.

5.  Please make sure to hunt down people who do great work and praise them for it. I will do this as much as humanly possible, but I can’t do it alone.

6. If I get it right occasionally, I’d love to hear about it from you, too :o)

7.  I will always have time for you. My calendar will never be so full that my next free time to talk to you is three weeks from next Friday.

8.  I want to know about you as an employee AND as a human being. I DO care about your private life, about you and your family’s health and well-being.

9.  Life is more than work. If you’re regularly working overtime, you’re just making yourself less happy and more stressed. Don’t join the cult of overwork, it’s bad for you and the company.

10. I expect you to take responsibility for your own well-being at work. If you can do something today to make yourself, a co-worker or me a little happier at work,“ do it!

I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your family, and to you having many fruitful years of ministry here with us.  Welcome!

[Your name]

If you sent this letter to a new employee, and actually held to it, would it make a difference?  I think it would. I’ve seen many a church that didn’t value their employees.  This letter sets the standard that people on staff are valued.  It gives permission to fail.  It expects that the staff person will lead.  And it perfectly balances work and family as well as employee and team player. A few of questions for you today… 1.  What do you think of the letter?  Could you honestly send this to your new employees?  Does your church practice what this letter preaches? 2.  Would this letter have made a difference in your employment if you had received it? 3.  What would you add or take away from this letter? 4.  Is this type of thing a great or horrible idea? I’d love hear your input… Todd This post was inspired by Alexander Kjerulf’s Chief Happiness Officer Blog, who revised it from Michael Wade’s post over at ExecuPundit called Note from boss to employees.

Church staff are the front line of church leadership. Every church needs to hire well. Many churches don’t. In fact, many churches make the same mistakes over and over. TJ Addington makes some great suggestions on things that churches should consider before they hire their next staff person.  TJ writes:
One of the top leadership tasks is to hire well. Every hire impacts the entire organization in a ripple fashion. Hire well and the organization becomes healthier and more effective. Hire poorly and the organization suffers. I am a fan of the concept, “hire slow, fire fast.” Being slow on the hire allows you to avoid a lot of pain later.
Matt Steen and I talk about what we think you should discuss and plan on BEFORE you start the hiring process the next time at your church: church staff

CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH Before You Hire Church Staff

(Length:  4 min 56 sec) Subscribe to MinistryBriefing on YouTube What do YOU think?  Leave a text or video comment here…
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Perry Noble had a great post this week.  These are seven questions that he thinks every staff person should be asking themselves.  Here are the questions… head over to Perry’s blog for more detail on each one. 1.  Would I attend this church if I were not on staff? 2.  Would I volunteer in the area I am working in if I were not on staff? 3.  Do I feel entitled? 4.  Am I a tither? 5.  How clean is my office/work area? 6.  How much do I complain about my job? 7.  Am I concerned about my particular area/team… OR about the church as a whole? As a staff member… how do you answer these questions.  I’m wondering your response, especially to questions 1 & 2.  You can leave them anonymously here in the comments section if you like. Over all, would you attend your church if you were not on staff?  And would you enjoy volunteering in your own area? Todd

A recent study provides the top ten reasons that pastors get fired.  I know that many who read this blog have been fired for one reason or another over their ministry career.  And for those who haven’t been fired personally, they probably have had a role in letting someone on their staff go.  Take a look at these reasons and see if they ring true for you personally… 1. Control issues (who should run the church) 2. Poor people skills 3. Church’s resistance to change 4. Pastor’s leadership style (too strong) 5. Church was already conflicted when the pastor arrived 6. Decline in attendance and/or conditions 7. Pastor’s leadership style (too weak) 8. Administrative incompetence on the part of the pastor 9. Sexual misconduct 10. Conflict with other staff Does this sound about right?  Have you been fired?  Was it for one of these reasons?  Have you had to fire someone?  Why? Leave a comment… I’d love to hear from you! Todd PS — There are a few more reasons you could get fired here…