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Why the Grass isn’t Greener at that other Church

If you haven’t noticed, church staffing has become a competitive market in recent years. So much so that a quick Google search of “Church Staff Search Firms” will provide you with a list of companies whose entire purpose is to help staff local churches, and whom didn’t exist 20 years ago. By the way, some of these search firms are very good at their jobs.

It’s easier than ever for church staff members to change churches…and they are. Unfortunately, staff longevity is becoming a rare thing in churches. I frequently have conversations with churches that are looking to hire a new team member or a team member who is looking to make a move to a new church.

And while moving to a new church may be what God wants you to do, it’s important to remember that the grass isn’t always greener at that new church.

Your Expectations may not be Reasonable

Often times I hear sad stories from church staff members about how the church or their Pastor hasn’t met their expectations. Expectations that go unmet can create all kinds of hurt and disillusionment. However, your expectations may not be reasonable. It’s not your pastor’s job to disciple you, working at a church isn’t always rainbows and unicorns, and I know you got into ministry to be a part of life-change and people meeting Jesus but this is your job, you don’t get to get paid to do a hobby (and you shouldn’t get paid to have coffee with people all day long). So, temper your expectations (by the way, the secret to happiness in life is low expectations).

The Problem isn’t “out there”

Typically, when I hear church staff members talk about leaving their church the conversation focuses on a problem or series of problems at the church they’re currently serving in. The first bit of input I consistently find myself providing is this: “If God has given you the insight through His Spirt to see something in the church you serve at that needs to change, instead of criticizing it why don’t you try and help it be what you see God wants it to be?” Maybe the problem isn’t with the church, maybe the problem is you’re not being solution oriented and you’re focusing on what’s wrong instead of trying to help it get better.

Planting a New Church may not Fix it

When things get tough, many young leaders are opting to leave and plant a new church. And while I’m all for planting new churches to reach new people, too often these new churches are planted for all the wrong reasons by all the wrong people.

Sometimes you have to Create the kind of place you want to be

I firmly believe, that if at all possible (it isn’t always), the best option for you and the best option for your church is for you to stay and figure it out. You will grow through the process and the church will experience the benefit and fruit of you staying and figuring it out. Sometimes it’s worth staying and creating the kind of place you want to be.

Work at a church? Trying to figure out if it’s time for you to leave your church? Check out this post about “Why Church Staff Change Churches.”


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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4 Big Reasons Why Church Teams Win or Lose

Not all church staff teams are created equal. Not only are different people gifted differently, but they’re gifted with a different measure or capacity of each gift they have. Some teams are built skillfully and intentionally to reach a particular vision while others are a collection of talented people, others still end up being a gathering of players that may love Jesus a lot and are good at caring for His Church but may not be put together and assembled to win. And friends, make no mistake about it, we are in a high stakes game where there are winners and losers and eternity hangs in the balance. There’s too much at stake to take a passive care taker approach to “church.” There are a lot of reasons why teams win or lose, but there are four reasons that consistently stand out when it comes to church staff teams.

Ability and Gifting

Spiritual gifts are given by God through the Holy Spirit. Abilities and skills however can be taught. For example, the Bible describes leadership as a spiritual gift, however anyone can learn and develop leadership skills. However, no amount of training can make up for a lack of gifting. Great teams are built with people who are gifted by Jesus and then work to develop those gifts.

Strategy

Strategy answers the question, “How are we going to accomplish the vision?” Great churches don’t just have big dreams and catchy vision phrases, they have a clear strategy to accomplish that vision. They know how they’re going to get it done…and they do.

Mentality

How does the church think? What is the mindset of the staff team? Are they aggressive problem solvers or do they default to taking care of and protecting what Jesus has entrusted to them. Do they leave the 99 to go after the 1?

Culture

Culture is that squishy stuff in a church that’s hard to get your hands around and define. It’s reflected in the language of the church, the way people who are a part of the church dress, the filter they use to make decisions and so on. Culture can be defined as the sum total of the attitude, values and behaviors of a church. Culture trumps intention, ideas or plans because it becomes the gravitational pull of the church.

Average teams excel in 1-2 areas.
Great teams excel in 2-3 areas.
Championship teams excel in 3-4 areas.

What kind of team are you building? What kind of team are you on?


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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8 Characteristics of a Great Campus Pastor

I wrote my first article about multisite churches eight years ago, it was entitled, “Why 20 Churches Went, Didn’t Go, and Still Might Go Multisite.” The article was based on a conversation with a group of Executive Pastors from large churches across America that I had been asked to facilitate. Since that time, I’ve written over 40 articles about multisite churches and I’ve learned a few things along the way from leading in a multisite church and making mistakes, finding success, as well as learning from other great multisite churches.

There’s a lot that goes into building a successful approach to multisite. However, in my experience there’s one thing that stands out above all the conversations and arguments that take place over the next location, financial and staffing strategies, live verses video teaching, branding, culture, decision rights, and what ministries you should replicate at each new location. The Campus Pastor. That’s because people make decisions and replicate culture. That’s something structures, policies or even systems can never do. Policies, structures and systems may institutionalize or support your culture, but people build and replicate it. Get the right people and the right people will lead you to the right solutions.

So with that in mind, here are eight characteristics that you need to be looking for in your next Campus Pastor.

#1 Culture: They fit your organizational “DNA.” They embody and champion the mission, vision and values of your team.

#2 Communication: Depending on your teaching model, they don’t necessarily need to be able to teach from the stage, but they do need to be a good communicator. They need to be able to speak with your church’s “voice” and have the capacity to inspire people and motivate movement.

#3 Relationships: They’ve got to have great relational skills. This may sound shallow, but people need to like them. If they don’t like them then they won’t like your church. This means they have to have a pretty high E.Q. and be good with people.

#4 Leadership: To be a Campus Pastor they not only have to be a gifted leader, but they need to have a proven leadership track record of building and leading teams. They need to be able to show how they’ve led through others by not only delegating tasks but empowering decision making.

#5 Driven: Being a Campus Pastor isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. If you’ve ever wanted to be a Campus Pastor, be careful what you wish for, because you might get it. Campus Pastors need to be mentally tough and have a certain amount of grit to lead through the tensions of moving people from where they are to where they need to be. They need to be able to execute and deliver, not just pontificate about ideas.

#6 Start Date: They’ve got to be able to join your team at least 6 to 12 months prior to the launch of the new location. It’s going to take that long for them to be a part of building the core team, staff team and deal with launch details. I’d encourage you to give them an even longer onramp if they’re being hired in from the outside and need to learn and embrace your culture.

#7 Community: They’ve got to be willing to live in and/or engage the community where the new campus is going to be.

#8 Second-Chair: Great Campus Pastors are wired to serve as a second-chair leader. They don’t need to be the vision caster but they need to believe in and be a vision carrier.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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How to Coach the Best Performance out of your Team

I wish coaching could solve every staff performance issue. I wish a little post game conversation would always turn into great results. I wish getting some team members a few more, “game like reps,” would improve their performance. I wish.

Unfortunately, coaching isn’t always the solution. There are some team members who can’t or won’t receive coaching and need to be coached out instead of being coached up. But how do you know how to respond to each unique team member?

High Performers

Some high performers not only produce great results, but they welcome and respond to coaching. They’re always looking for ways to grow and improve their game. They have the talent required to perform at a high level and the character necessary to receive coaching and respond well. These team members are fun to coach. They’re the kind of people who do a lot with what you give them, and then ask for more. These people just need you to empower them and keep coaching them up.

There are some team members who are insanely talented and have the capacity to deliver great results but lack the character necessary to receive and respond well to coaching. They may be a great talent but have really poor chemistry with the rest of the team. These are the kind of team members that you need to intervene with quickly and keep on a very short leash. They need to be provided with clear and quick consequences or they can mess up the entire chemistry of the team. No amount of competency can overcome a fatal flaw in character.

Low Performers

Not every low performer needs to be coached out. There are many factors that impact poor performance. They may not have been given the right resources to succeed, they may have been placed in a role that doesn’t play to their strengths, or they may simply be young and inexperienced. If they have the character it takes to receive and respond well to coaching and have good chemistry with the team then coach them up instead of coaching them out.

Sometimes you can’t avoid coaching a team member off of your team. It’s part of your responsibility as the coach or leader to not allow low performers to remain low performers. If a team member is constantly shifting blame to other people or circumstances for their poor performance, if they have a poor attitude, if there is poor chemistry with the team, if there is a character problem, if they don’t respond well and respond quickly to coaching it’s probably time to coach them out instead of coaching them up.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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Leading an Unstuck Church Online Course

The last few years at the Unstuck Group we’ve served 100’s of churches and over that time we’ve been tracking the “Core Issues” that emerge during strategic planning—the things teams identify as the reasons they felt stuck.

There were 12 common challenges that kept coming up over and over again—things like finding the best ways to close the “back door,”  building a plan to develop more leadersincreasing volunteer engagementstaffing for growth, etc.

We started thinking, “We need to create something to equip more church leaders to win in these areas.”

So, we’ve been writing and shooting video and creating an online space for church leaders to learn and process next steps around those core issues together.

We’re calling it the Leading an Unstuck Church Course, and it’s available now!

This new resource, the Leading an Unstuck Church Course, challenges you with lessons, exercises and discussion that will grow your ability to lead an unstuck church. Whether you lead a large church, a small church or somewhere in between, my friend Tony Morgan equips you with biblical wisdom and practical know-how to lead your church towards sustained health.

Through this course you will gain the ability to help your church:

  • Find clarity around mission, vision, values and strategy
  • Discover practical ways to enhance the weekend services
  • Build a plan to develop more leaders
  • Learn to build teams & increase volunteer engagement
  • Learn how to staff for growth
  • Improve communications both internally and externally
  • Learn how to establish healthier finances
  • And more

That’s just a sample. Learn about all 12 lessons and enroll by clicking this link. The Leading an Unstuck Church Course will only be open for enrollment for a few weeks, since we want to keep the group small so we can engage personally and facilitate a strong community. We hope to see you there!


Posted in Leadership, Staffing
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