SEAN MORGAN
Interim Director
Leadership Network

It makes sense that a lot of churches are reshuffling staff.

Many churches are doing this for budgetary reasons, many for strategic reasons (which seems like excellent leadership), and many for both.

A few weeks back I blogged about the need to have margin on your staff team—and in your budget—to allow you to be nimble as you look ahead to 2021 and beyond.

That may mean some tough decisions and conversations about what parts of your ministry are thriving and what parts are not.  Sometimes those conversations will lead you to shut down an entire ministry division, other times you may keep the ministry in place and, instead, make leadership changes over the ministry.

All leaders struggle with the idea of letting a staff team member go.  Well, at least I think all good leaders do.

Letting staff go seems very unpastoral.

It’s for that very reason that I’m writing this blog.  

You see, when you’re part of a church, you’re part of a family.

When you’re part of the staff, you’re part of a team, too.

That does not mean that you cease being part of the family. It just means that there is now a set of goals and objectives you need to meet from a performance perspective.

Teams have scoreboards that measure their success.

A lot of church leaders conflate team and family.

A lot of church congregants conflate team and family.

When we conflate these issues, we are, in all likelihood, inadvertently (and often subtly) shifting the mission of the church toward our staff becoming the mission instead of doing the mission.

I’m certainly not recommending summarily letting staff go.  

Rather, I’m stating that in a decade of coaching, I’ve seen a lot of churches plateau and decline because they focused on the wrong metrics for success.  

One of the very key things leaders need to be acutely aware of is what parts of their organization are building and growing and contributing to the fruit of ministry and…what parts are not.

If you pause right now, at a gut level you could likely list the top 1-3 parts of your ministry that are thriving and several parts that are not.

Leaders must be honest with themselves.

Let me encourage you to be honest with yourself.

Are the struggling ministries of your church struggling because there is no life left in the ministry program?  Or is it a people problem, where the ministry is valid and vital but it’s not being led well?

If it’s a program issue, this can be a great opportunity to get a team of your creatives together and dream how to relaunch the ministry program with new life.  

Dream big!  

Take risks!  

Ask: In what other ways can we achieve our intended outcomes?

On the other hand, if it is a people problem, you know you have to have some tough conversations because performance is required of a team.

In sports, your players only make the team if they can contribute to the scoreboard.  Ministry staff teams also need to contribute to your scorecard for ministry success.

As a supervisor of others’ performance, you can help them by being honest.

Of course, this can be done in a loving way.

This absolutely can be done in a generous and open-handed way.

Building great leaders and holding them to a high-performance standard is what the best teams do!

Until next week, Grace & Peace.

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