Ministry is messy... but your team needs to gel.
Some staff teams are a mess relationally. I’ve known staff members that don’t talk to each other for months. Others have quit their church jobs over relational issues. (Some have even left the ministry).
Chuck Lawless offers some of the core reasons why many church teams are dysfunctional relationally. Many times its because we don’t choose team members wisely. Here are some of Chuck’s thoughts:
- Our selection processes don’t include enough time and interaction to know potential team members. I understand the logistical difficulties of finding that time, but enlistment that includes only a few meetings is surely insufficient. Long-term staff problems are often a front-door issue.
- Potential leaders aren’t always who we thought they were when we hired them. Even when we’ve spent time with others (years, even . . .), we still don’t always know them. Some potential leaders show different colors once they’re officially on the team; the faithful, humble church member sometimes changes his tune when he becomes a leader with authority.
- Many of us avoid honest conversations until the conflict is deep. Paul’s admonition to deal quickly with our anger (Eph. 4:26) is a wise one, but we too often preach it to others more than to ourselves. We shouldn’t be surprised by an explosion when we’ve chosen not to deal with the sparks.
- Our training doesn’t always include conflict resolution. I’m a seminary professor, and I know we include that topic in our pastoral training curriculum – but I’m sure it’s still not enough. While churches and seminaries train future pastors to speak to culture, we also need to train them to speak to each other.
- Some leaders have unhealthy homes that affect their work relationships, too. Particularly when marriages are rocky but pastors are unwilling to admit their struggles, their stress comes out in other areas. Somebody bears the brunt of the turmoil – and that “somebody” is often other staff members.
Chuck offers some other reasons here… be sure to read them!
Here’s something that stood out to me from Chuck’s thoughts:
“Long-term staff problems are often a front-door issue.”
This is SO true. We see it all the time in our work at Chemistry Staffing.
In fact, we have, over the past two years, developed a plan to help churches solve this ‘front-door’ issue when bringing new staff on.
One of the ways we do this is by doing a 100 point assessment for each candidate that applies for any position with our firm. We assess each candidate UP-FRONT in the areas of theology, church culture and DNA, personality, and skills and abilities. Then we match these qualities with the answers the church provides us with.
This gives us a good starting point to know who we should start talking to. The assessments allows us to find green lights (areas of similarity), red lights (areas of disqualification) and yellow lights (areas that need to be probed a little more).
Our three interview screening process with individual candidates drill down on these assessments before we ever present a candidate to a church for consideration. By then, we’ve also communicated with references, and made sure that the candidate is a good overall potential fit for a church.
This saves tons of time, energy, and money for the church.
It also takes much of the front-door issues of having a bad team member off the table.
Increased interaction before a hire is key to finding a team member that works well with your current team dynamic.
If you’re looking for a new staff member, we’d love to tell you more about our process and how it can help you have a more productive team. Just click the link below my signature.