Hiring Church Staff
When is the right time to add staff to your team?
1) When no volunteer or team is able to do what needs to be done in a given area.
2) When what is required to be done is more than a single leader or team can reasonable do.
3) When leadership is needed in a given area and there is one to do it.
4) When there is an expectation that needs to be met so often that it is not reasonable for a volunteer.
“Parkinson’s Law” – when work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. People find a way to make jobs more complicated and time-consuming, which in the end requires more staff to get the same amount of work done. When there are transitions in leadership, there should be an analysis of the work required to the time you are asking the leader to complete it – is it reasonable, exaggerated, etc.?
5) When expertise is needed that is not found within the church body, and that expertise is needed on such a regular basis that it is reasonable to hire a person to do it.
Things to Consider for the Staff Position:
• The person will be asking three questions that need to be addressed.
1) What am I responsible for?
2) What decisions am I able to make on my own?
3) Whom do I report to for help?
• Staff should not do what volunteers can do. The goal of the leader is to put church members in place of ministry so they can grow in their faith, and experience the joy and blessing of service. This is also how we grow and mature in our walk with the Lord. If the leaders do everything, they limit the growth of the ministry, and rob members of these blessings.
• A team should always support the staff – no lone rangers. Sometimes. Staff are hired because no one can do what needs to be done, but the leader must immediately seek to build a team.
• Be careful not to load a new staff person with all the needs of the church. The example of deacons in Acts 6:2 was an effort to allow the elders to focus on their calling/ministry. The staff need to be able to focus, and should avoiding generalizing as much as possible.
• Church leaders should be equipping/teaching others on their team to do what they do. Ephesians 4:11-13 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, . . .”
• Hire leaders of ministry, not people to do the ministry themselves.
Should the church hire from within or hire from the outside?
• When your church culture is healthy, hiring from within will perpetuate that culture. Hiring from the outside will change the church culture.
I would suggest this article because he does a good job of describing when you should hire staff and the order they should be hired. It’s a good read if you are interested in this topic.
Dealing With Problems and Making Decisions 
Inevitably when you are a leader you will have to deal with problems. How a leader deals with these troubling circumstances and leads through them is what determines if he/she is a good or “desperately in need of improvement” leader. If you have ever agreed to hold a position where others in the room look to you for what to do when things go wrong then you need to have at least thought about a process for dealing with these problems. In large organizations they call them “contingency plans” but most of us don’t have shelves of three-ring binders we can flip through when disaster comes upon us.
One of the best skills a leader can posses is dealing with problems before they arise (through prayer, advanced planning, training, etc.) but eventually no matter how much you plan there will be times when problems find their way into your life and you have to deal with them.
First and foremost a spiritual leader desires to know the will of God’s concerning what directions or actions they should take. So as one prays, studies Scripture, and contemplates the circumstances consider the following:
Questions to Answer
Am I committed to doing God’s will in this situation? (Romans 12:1-2)
Sometimes the answer is easy and His will is plain, but we are not willing to do it. It may require us to confront someone who will have their feelings hurt, or we know they will become angry, or we may even lose our job (or place of ministry, or at least we think we will).
Sometimes the decision is not so clear, but we must commit to doing God’s will in each step that we know what to do, and when His will is clear. Sometimes as a leader we lay ourselves down “as a living sacrifice” and be willing to “take a hit” so that Christ’s name may be lifted high. Strong personalities, or strong willed people who feel their way is best (instead of the given direction from the leader) will try to take the organization in a direction that may be away from the expressed will of God and toward what benefits them personally. So opposing these people may be difficult for the leader and even his family. So we begin the process by asking how committed is the leader to following God’s will; is he willing to do whatever it takes to see God’s name and will held as the top priority?
Are the desires of my heart to pursue this particular course? (Psalm 37:4)
This Psalm says that when we delight ourselves with the things of God, He will give us the desires of our heart. So our main objective as a leader is to see that God is glorified and that His name is lifted up. When we lead people to do this as well, then it should bring delight to our hearts. Our desire then becomes seeing others give God glory with their lives.
Is the problem something that you feel needs to be fixed (do you even care about it)? Or would it be best to pass off (i.e. delegate) this problem to someone who is passionate about it, or who “has a heart” for that area? If you say, “This is something that we can’t ignore. Something must be done about this,” then make sure your heart is lining up with the commandments and teachings of Scripture.
Does God provide the power to continue working on the project and make the necessary decisions to achieve it? (Isaiah 26:3)
This passage from Isaiah discusses how God gives the mind peace as the person trusts in God. So the leader must make decisions that result from prayer and contemplation but ultimately result in a step of faith where he/she trusts that God will take care of him/her and work through them in the situation. It is easy for others to second guess decisions after time has passed and the problem has passed. But what makes one a leader is that they must make a decision in the midst of the storm. Trust God once you feel you have heard from Him and pronounced a decision.
Also, what makes a spiritual leader different from a secular leader is that they rely on the Holy Spirit for things not provided to those who do not believe and place a saving trust in Christ (such as strength, insight, faith, peace, resources, etc). Does the leader have a sense of peace as they work through the process that the most current decision is the right one?
In determining what to do next in the midst of a problem it is helpful to define some terms.
Decision-making; this is choosing between alternatives. Often times the alternatives are not good and bad, but good and good, or good and best.
Problem solving; this is the process of formulating and implementing a plan of action to eliminate a difficulty. Problem solving tends to deal with internal issues.
Conditions; these are currently uncontrollable circumstances superimposed on the situation from outside. A considerable length of time is required to change conditions noticeably. Conditions tend to deal with external issues.
Problem Solving Process
1. Determine if the situation is a problem or a condition. Is the situation coming from outside of the organization or the inside?
2. Clearly state the problem.
3. Determine what will be gained or lost in solving the problem. Don’t create a bigger problem by solving a smaller one.
4. Identify alternative methods and solutions.
5. State the cost of each alternative.
6. Choose between alternatives (as you pray, have Bible study, seek godly wisdom, etc.).
7. Delegate action steps and begin implementation.
8. Evaluate progress.
One of the biggest mistakes leaders make in dealing with problems is that when they are working through this process they don’t take into account the feelings of those in the organization as they begin to make changes. Even if these changes will improve the situation of all concerned, people typically don’t like changes; especially if they don’t play a part in the decision making process. If you are in a “boss-employee” situation then the leader could just state the decision in a memo and be done with it. But in a volunteer organization (such as a church) then people choose to follow or not, the leader has to be sensitive (but not overly controlled by) to other’s feeling and emotions.
The following is a way of asking people how they are feeling and gives an opportunity to discuss the change process as you go through it.
When __________ (occurs), I feel ______________ (state the way you feel), because ________________ (state why you feel that way.)
For example: “When you change things, I feel fearful, because I do not understand where we are going and how it will affect me and my family.”
Your goal is to get honest responses and point them to Scripture and the rationale and reasoning process you have taken to reach the decisions that have been reached.
 Note: information for this article was taken from notes of Dr. Ken Coley in a class at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary entitled Church Administration in 1998.
It’s Time to begin Planning for the New Year
2020 has finally passed and with a Covid-19 vaccine on the horizon we can finally begin to look past the latest school closings, and hospital surges. While masks and social distancing will be with us for a while, a new year opens up new opportunities for something new. Do you think I’m ready for something new (absolutely!)
God in His grace gives us newness; new days are given after a night’s rest, new growth is seen as the seasons of the year change, and a new year is given to be used for His glory. Honestly, this has not been the best year for me, and I know it has been really hard for many people. If you have not had a good year, or if you seem to be reacting to life instead of moving the rudder of your life’s ship, then consider the following as you approach the new year:
Six Items To Consider As You Prepare For a New Year
1. Pray. It seems obvious, but God already has your year mapped out, so why not see what he says about your next year. Are there things that you find yourself foolishly repeating year after year simply because you didn’t spend time with the Lord? Before we begin to plan our next steps, we must consult the Lord and His plans for us.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare2 and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
2. Develop Your Calendar. It has been said, “If you don’t control your calendar, then your calendar will control you.” As you chart your next season of life, begin by taking your yearly calendar and adding all of the big annual events (vacations, ministry events, family events like anniversaries and birthdays, and conferences). While Covid-19 may have changed how we do these things, we must think creatively, with purpose and understanding, to see that the intention behind these “big rocks” have the space needed in our lives.
Once you have yearly events, then move to monthly, and then weekly. But before you add all the events from last year to the calendar for this year, you must prayerfully consider each one. How will you evaluate if you need to do this or that event again, on the same scale, or the same way? While I pray that life is not about quarantines and closings this coming year, we still need to carve out the weekly and monthly items that are important.
Make sure you put as much information as you know on the calendar. There will be events that you do not have a specific date for yet, but try to place it as close to the date of where you think it will be held. By having all your events on the calendar before you, you can also evaluate if there will be simply too much going on, or if more things can be added to the calendar. Perhaps, an alternative is to move events around until you find the balance between the two.
3. Along with your events, simultaneously, develop your budget. How much will you need for specific events, trips, or ministry efforts? You may find that you need to scale down an activity or that you have the ability to do something else or to do the event on a larger scale than you once thought possible. Like air in a clown’s balloon, you can twist all the links into it you want, but there is only so much air and the balloon can only stretch so far.
4. Consider your own personal goals and need for growth. If you are finding yourself feeling “burned out” spend some time asking the Lord, “Why am I feeling this way?” or “What am I doing regularly that is negatively impacting my life?”
It may be that you are spending too much time away from home, or not enough in devotional time. It will be different for everyone, but now is the time to plan out how you will not continue to do these same things. You don’t have to feel tired, depressed, worn out, etc. all the time.
This is also a great time to consider the needs of your family. Just as the seasons change, so do the needs of family. Each year brings its’ own set of problems and challenges, and so as you prayerfully plan your budget, calendar out events, and set your personal goals, also consider how your family has changed in the past year. Avoid excessive activity, and build in family time, or special time with a child that may need some extra attention. Your first responsibility is to your family, and then to ministry.
New Year’s Resolutions
For a person to keep a New Years’ resolution it has to be rooted in the person having a genuine need and the person seeing the benefit of keeping the resolution. Your praying, planning, budgeting will bring needed resolutions to your attention that if you make these changes will help you to be healthier, happier, more rested, and growing as a person.
5. Review the previous year. I keep a journal where I record detailed notes of meetings, planning lists, journal entries, ideas etc. and I when I go through this time of planning, I review these journals from the previous year. I am reminded of ideas that I had forgotten about, people I need to develop relationships with, projects that have been completed (or not completed), or even goals that have been met.
These journals are encouraging because I am able to see how God has answered prayer, provided what was needed to complete various ministry projects, and carried me through one more year of ministry. They are a reminder of God’s faithfulness.
Unlike a previous year’s calendar, a journal reminds me of thoughts and feelings. There are some items and information that I will transfer from an older journal to a new one, but for the most part each journal is a step forward into a new year.
Regardless of your method, how will you review the previous year? Do we just say it is a “one off,” and treat 2021 like 2019 and pretend 2020 really didn’t happen?
6. Contentment but not Satisfaction. This is not about “we had 20 last year, so this year I want to have 40.” Or “we had 6 groups last year, so this year I want to have 12!” Wanting more people, money or equipment simply because that’s how the world measures success is not a good way of determining a direction in ministry. This method is rooted in pride and will be quickly abandoned when things get difficult.
Before Covid-19 many church leaders measured success by how many backsides were in the pew, and how many dollars were in the plate. Now we are talking about virtual services and giving online. Covid-19 has taught us new ways of measuring success, such as “engagement,” and “relationship building.” But, this is really as it has always been since the time of the early church, we just needed a pandemic to bring us back into focus.
Let me be of encouragement to you, that God loves you, has a purpose and plan for your life and this coming year is going to be a year of recovery and re-building. As we all are beginning to come out of our post-apocalyptic bunkers, know that God will reward our faithfulness to Him.
 1 Timothy 3:4