Balancing Efficiency & Trust in Ministry Staff/Volunteers (Part 3 of 5)

#2 – Drive the people that drive the people

We have all heard the phrase, Work Smarter; not Harder.  I still have not figured out how I completely feel about that statement, yet I have used it before – even on myself.  I just don’t know if it is 100% accurate.  Maybe, but with a few riders added on:
1.       Hard work still required -   Sometimes you just need to belly up and work hard.  Can I get an AMEN?
2.       Everyone needs led well - Most people that answer the call to ministry are motivated by their calling.  Often times, an unproductive worker isn’t lazy – they just need to know exactly what you want done.  Everyone wants to know their expectations and hear them evaluated.  Just giving someone a yearly raise not only wastes their time and yours, in the long run is a short term high for motivation that barely lasts after its reflection in the first paycheck.
3.       The Jesus Model - He is the perfect example (no pun intended – who am I kidding, yes it was) of the keys to working smarter.   
a.       Build Teams – Jesus knew that He couldn’t do ministry alone.  That is why he found the right group of imperfect people to team with.  He didn’t try to do everything himself.  Quite often, He pulled greatness out of them that they didn’t know they had.  Are you doing that with your teams?
b.      Pray for guidance, wisdom - Before Jesus chose the 12 disciples he spent an entire night in prayer and surely had spent a long time processing through it before that.
c.       Relationship – He built a relationship with them.  You can't be led well by someone who doesn’t take interest in you.

What I can learn from this besides A LOT
  • ·         Work hard with the staff in situations where they are working hard.  Lead by example.
  • ·         Give staff clarity, especially during confusing times of change
  • ·         Make sure staff leave my office (especially during times of evaluation) knowing where the stand, that they are appreciated and areas of improvement.
  • ·         Pray for the staff and the teams they lead.
  • ·         Get better relationally with everyone.
What you can do
  • ·         VOLUNTEER – Jesus didn’t do it alone, neither should the staff of your church.  You are as much a disciple as they are.  We are all called to ministry in some form or another.  
  • ·         Work harder and SMARTER when you are serving in ministry.  People over tasks


Balancing Efficiency & Trust in Ministry Staff/Volunteers (Part 2 of 5)

#1 – Care for the people who care for the people.

For lack of a better phrase, fellow staff members need to be my #1 care.  Ministry like any other job has its highs and sometimes lows.  Every staff member/employee of any non-profit organization or ministry willingly took a step, answered a call, accepted the mission to care for people, answer the calls of emergency situations, be present in times of crisis, love, coach, empower, provide empathy, lead through change and encourage.
Ministry is so rewarding; to be able to witness life change and have the high honor of influencing people, but when not managed well it can lead to BURNOUT.  And BURNOUT leads to disdain.  We can get so caught up in all the aspects of ministry previously mentioned that it can begin to affect 4 important areas – Physical, Mental, Spiritual and Social (relational, family) (Anne Jackson, Mad Church Disease).  This cannot happen.  When we let this happen, we are ineffective to those we minister to and not representing Christ well. 

Therefore, I will
  • ·         Encourage and lead staff to be efficient in the day to day tasks,  work harder and smarter with the processes we oversee so that when the people take priority when situations and the day calls for it. 
  • ·         Challenge myself and staff in the 4 areas that can be affected along the road to burnout.
  • ·         Think through a healthy way to get staff spouses and family members involved in goal setting etc.
  • ·         I need to keep an open door as often as I can at the office and LISTEN better.  I really need to learn from others by listening as we converse in my office or theirs.
What you can do
  • ·         Pray for the ministry staff that leads you
  • ·         Encourage them, fill up their tank – they need it sometimes
  • ·         Trust them


Balancing Efficiency & Trust in Ministry Staff/Volunteers (Part 1 of 5)

4 years ago I was leading multiple locations and local store marketing of a National Brand and Franchise. I was working with everyone from training a teenager to run the drive thru to leading managers to be better leaders to helping assess the needs of a certain store in a certain market to make the best of their local store marketing plan.  That was my life for years and luckily it came very easy for me.  I was a very firm, fair and consistent manager who never needed to be liked, just respected.  Respected that I was making the best decisions for the business - for the team as a whole, while empowering people to leave a stronger leader/employee from the day they started to the day they left; and having fun while doing it.  Customer satisfaction and the P&L drove my ambitions, but quite frankly  - my employees were my number one customer.  All of that was a tough balance, but one I feel I eventually was able to lead well.  

Today, I find myself in a position I have dreamed of for many years at the church I grew up in.  I have always felt called to ministry, just not from the front.  I'm not a preacher (although some would argue based on the topic ;-) ), I am not even that good from the stage.  What I feel called to do is make whats behind the scenes a well oiled machine so that the front line leaders minister most effectively.  What is most fulfilling about this job is that it is not about money, its about people - and its about a church God designed with imperfect leaders leading an imperfect community of believers and seekers. God's creative that way. 

Over the next week or so, I will be examining the balance of getting efficiency out of those leading in ministry, holding them to a firm/fair/consistent working environment while having heaps of trust in these amazing people with skills and talents I will never have or understand - and watching them flourish into what they do so well into the gifts He has blessed them with.

So for those of you who have never worked in ministry and those of you who have not worked in the same world your congregation or organizations members have, stay tuned - would love to hear if you agree or disagree with any of my thoughts.

To Be Continued.......