Top 5 Posts of 2011 #3: Why church staff change churches

Believe it or not I originally wrote this post back in 2010, and ever since then this post has remained on my top 5 list. This post began a series of posts on church staffing that I’m actually in the process of editing and turning into my first e-book that will be available during the first quarter of 2012.

Why Church Staff Change Churches

In reflecting about a major move that is coming up this summer for my family from Phoenix to Atlanta, my heart was stirred about why Church Staff change churches. And while this isn’t an exhaustive list, I thought it was a great place to start. So in no particular order, here is my top 10 list of “Why Church Staff Change Churches:”

1. They think bigger is better

Often Staff are enamored with a larger more attractive ministry down the street that seemingly offers them a greater opportunity for influence, personal development, name recognition, career advancement, a greater or broader impact, or better resources to do ministry.

2. They think the grass is greener on the other side

That is to say that they are in a perpetual search for the perfect church or Lead Pastor to serve under. Neither of which exist by the way. What they will end up discovering over time is that the real issue driving a lot of this is their own lack of personal contentment.

3. There was a poor interviewing and hiring process

Let’s be honest with one another for a moment. Most churches don’t have a great process in place for hiring people. Often Staff have been set up to fail from day one by the churches that hire them because they should have never been hired or placed in that particular role in the first place. They simply lack the chemistry, character, competency, or a host of other “C” words they need to do the job.

4. They are offered more pay and better benefits to go somewhere else

Has this every happened to you? After I left a church that I was working for they actually ended up paying the next guy more to replace me than what they were paying me. I wondered, what if I had quit and reapplied for the job, would they have given me the same raise? It is rightly said that the best people in an organization will always go out on their own two feet. You may not like the bottom line, but if you don’t pay your top performers someone else will.

5. There is no vision or they don’t agree with the vision

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation. Someone (usually in a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th chair role) thinks that God has called them to speak for the Lord and help their poor Lead Pastor understand that it is time for the vision to change because they don’t agree with it. And they are just the person who has come down off of the mountain with the new blueprint for where the church should go next. Or on the other hand the vision is so unclear that people have a hard time understanding how to define success in their job, which leads to frustration, which leads to burnout. Either route you take you end up with a lot of frustration and an eventual job change.

6. They just can’t cut it and actually do the job at the required level

As a church grows often times if you are not careful the rate of growth can outpace the growth and development of the staff. Like shifting sand, the job description for your role literally can change and all of the sudden you can find yourself being asked to do things that you weren’t being asked to do 3 years ago.

7. They don’t feel appreciated

Often times very talented people simply are not put in the right seat on the bus. They are placed in a role that doesn’t allow them to use their gifts, abilities, and play to their strengths. As a result they never get groomed or developed for the next challenge, they only get frustrated. Sadly many people in this situation are left feeling as though their boss or the organization they work in doesn’t care about them. That they want something out of them or from them instead of something for them. The only thing more demotivating than not feeling as though you are making a real contribution in the work you’re doing is not feeling like your supervisor believes you’re the person to get the work done. Not feeling appreciated leads to going somewhere else where you do.

8. Conflict with their boss or other people

It’s tough to give your all to an organization when you don’t get along with the people you work with, where there is personality conflict with your boss, or you simply don’t like the people in the office. It’s important to remember that chemistry matters.

9. They get fired or downsized

This isn’t the most motivating, inspiring, or exciting way to leave a church. In fact it’s can be incredibly hurtful, humiliating, and even scary. But it is clear.

10. It’s God’s will

If you know God is calling you to something else, then that’s a great reason to leave a church. But you better be pretty sure that it was God you heard talking and not the pizza you had at 2:00am before you start waving around the “God wills it” card.

So in your opinion why do you think Church Staff change churches? When is it okay to go, and when should you stick it out? Leave a comment below.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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