Staff

Staff 2018-03-19T15:17:58+00:00

“Hey Fletch” on Staff Issues

From around the globe, people tune in on Fletch’s warm and sound advice. He’s a friend and “church doctor,” bringing an objective perspective, broad knowledge and vast experience. Your question will get a personal reply from Fletch.

Big Announcement at Meeting’s End

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hey Fletch … I met with our volunteer drummer last night. We talked for an hour about life and ministry. At the end of the time, just as we were about ready to leave, he said: “Oh, I’ve really enjoyed being in the band but I need to pull out. My schedule is too crazy right now.” Why would someone wait until the end of a meeting to make a big announcement like that?

DRF—Managing a big announcement is challenging. The timing of a major announcement is crucial and, unfortunately, your drummer acted like many leaders. He chose a bad time to make his departure known to you.

In an attempt to share information in a non-threatening way, people often make their announcement when there is no time for discussion. He has controlled the situation so that you have no time to interact with his decision. You are forced to accept it as is.

Perhaps he thinks that if there is discussion, that he might back down on his decision. He could be a poor negotiator and not process his thoughts or feelings as things happen. Either way, he has made it impossible for you to discuss his decision that day.

Some leaders do the same thing. Whether through a desire to have the power of controlling discussion, or the inability to have a discussion, some leaders make major announcements at the end of a meeting. It certainly puts a damper on the meeting. Most members feel cheated; if the announcement had been made earlier, they could have reset the agenda to work with the new information.

It gets down to helping people think through your decision. You can frame a decision so that it is firm: “I’ve thought through this and am certain that this is what I must do, but I want to talk with you about the transition.”

This treats others well. It lets them know that you care about the team and the ongoing needs of others. Yet, it also affirms to all that our decision is final.

The Executive Pastor Indicator

Friday, June 8, 2018

Hey Fletch … I filled out the XP indicator. When do I get the results?

DRF—I love eager beavers! You are avid and want to learn about your strengths. You are saying, “I’m ready, let’s go!”

The Indicator began as a work only for XPs. It grew into People Patterns that any person could use to better understand their gifts. This current version of the People Patterns has explanations of each area that are tailored to church leaders–SPs, XPs, pastors, business leaders and volunteer leaders. Over 4,500 people have taken the Indicator.

The Indicator measures five areas of your leadership: Mentor, Administrator, Catalyst, Relational and Overseer. For example, those with the Mentor Pattern are such people as U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, who said: 

“I would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.” 

That is the style of a mentoring leader. Compare that to Princess Diana who was a relational leader:

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don’t go by the rulebook … I lead from the heart, not the head … Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back … I remember when I used to sit on hospital beds and hold people’s hands, people used to be shocked because they’d never seen this before … To me it was quite normal. Helping people in need is a good and essential part of my life, a kind of destiny.

Contrast Eisenhower and Princess Diana with the Overseer style of leadership of Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Britain:

To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best … There are no hills to go down unless you start from the top. A well ordered society would be one where the State only had a negative action, comparable to that of a rudder: a light pressure at the right moment to counteract the first suggestion of any loss of equilibrium.

The Indicator helps you see your leadership style. Whether we watch kids, work in an office or lead a church, we all lead with characteristic styles.

As to the specifics of your question, it says on the Indicator page: “Your results will be sent to you within two business days.” I haven’t seen your results yet, but you might be an Overseer!

Posting a Job?

Monday, June 4, 2018

Hey Fletch .. I would like to post a job for a Pastor of Children’s Ministries on XPastor. How do I do that?

DRF—Yes, XPastor has a section to post ministry jobs. To cover our expenses for running the otherwise free XPastor site, we charge $99 to post jobs. The position will be put on the site and on our social media.

You can see the job posting page here, with a link to post the position.

Urgency Mode in Email

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hey Fletch … I have a grid of how staff can send me emails to get my attention. I created a four-part numbering system. This lets me immediately know how important their item is. Thoughts?

DRF—I like the grid in your email. Remember though, most people can process and use three levels of expectations. Four levels pushes the envelope on what people can remember and use. 

You want people to signify an ‘urgency mode.’ That’s good as we all get bombarded with so many emails in the course of a workday. Your ‘urgency mode’ is how people can signify to you that something needs urgent attention. It is like ‘stat’ or ‘code blue’ in a hospital. Use the numbers, but  I would suggest three numbers. These would essentially be urgency levels of “low, medium and high.”

Being Directive with Staff

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hey Fletch … I am struggling with how directive to be with my staff in terms of “expectations”?

DRF—For me, setting expectations is one of collaboration. I find that when I can have a discussion with someone, many times they set great expectations. 

When I turn leaders loose in their area of giftedness, I generally find that they need coaching, not a foot on the gas pedal. I weave my personal expectations into the discussion, so that in the end, we arrive at a good product.

Talk with your staff. Open the door for them to set high expectations. The discussion will be fruitful.

Pay Staff to not Take Health Insurance

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hey Fletch … Thanks again for such a great XP-Seminar. It is truly run with excellence and is so helpful to me. Here’s a quick question for you or whoever you may refer me. The question is regarding full-time employees who are eligible, but do not need or engage in the medical benefits offered by our church. What is your opinion and how do most churches handle this situation regarding additional compensation? The three most common solutions of which I am familiar: 1) Stipend, 2) Covering the additional premium for the employee on their spouses policy, and 3) No additional compensation with a “thank you.” At the moment we opt for number 3, but are curious how other churches handle this.

DRF—I’m so glad that you were at the Seminar. We didn’t get much chance to talk this year, but what a wonderful time everyone had. It was so good. As to your question … Let me answer them in order.

Solution #1—The stipend is money given to encourage people to get their insurance through their spouse. At one church that I was at, they gave $1,000 to each staff person who took the medical insurance offered at their spouse’s place of work. I inherited that system and didn’t change it. This made good economic sense to the church. The church gave a bonus of $1,000 to the employee and saved $7,500 in medical insurance premiums. The humor of it is that the church is giving a bonus to folks who have two incomes.

Solution #2—I haven’t heard of a church paying the premium for an employee on their spouse’s policy. You would need to talk to a CPA or medical insurance specialist to see if this is tax-exempt. The amount that the church pays may be considered a bonus and taxable to the employee. I suspect that there will be lots of fine-print in the answer.

Solution #3—Many churches give no additional compensation. As you said, the church just says, “thanks for saving us $7,500 or more in insurance premiums.” If the two plans are similar, there is little financial incentive for the employee to be on their spouse’s plan. I knew of a family who chose to be on the church plan because “it saved them $500 a year in premiums.” The church should have paid them $500 in a bonus and saved multiple thousands in medical insurance premiums.

Let me ask Jordan Pushos (CFP) at GuideStone Financial Resources and see if he can help.

Jordan—In regards to “a church paying the premium for an employee on their spouse’s policy,” this is a bit of a grey area in the industry due to the many circumstances that can surround a reimbursement of this type. An employer can reimburse premiums for an employee participating in a spouse’s medical plan if the medical plan is considered a group policy. However, many times an employer is not aware of whether or not the medical plan is a group policy. Additionally, an employer must remember what they do for one employee they must do for others; otherwise you could end up in different types of discrimination issues. Because of these issues, many employers steer away from these types of reimbursements.

Boss Stole My Idea

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hey Fletch … my boss stole my idea and said it was his. What gives?

DRF—That’s a hard one to hear. I’m so sorry that you had this experience. Can you go back to your boss and get some clarification? Can you explain to him that the idea was yours? Can you share your disappointment and angst?

Some ideas are born out of collaborative efforts. When things are products of a work group, they should be shared as “the team created …” When an individual comes up with an idea, it should be shared as “this team member had a terrific concept and I want to put it forward.” 

Some leaders do what you have experienced—they present the work of others as their own. They may feel that as the “boss” they have the right to this. Good ethics dictate this not to be the case. By not giving proper credit, your boss stole from you. The best practice is to share the fantastic ideas of staff members and give proper acknowledgement.

I have never heard of a person being fired simply because they hired smart people. The better that a person hires and promotes the work of others, the more good credit comes to the entire team. If your boss would have said, “this person created this,” the others in the room would have thought, “that boss has a great team and must be doing something right to get such great ideas.”

XPastor Course Syllabus

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hey Fletch … is there a syllabus available for the XPastor Staffing Course, Operations 101? I took your Generosity Course and enjoyed it!

DRF—I’m so glad that you enjoyed the Generosity Course. Let me email you the syllabus for Staffing. We are now putting the syllabus as a part of week 1. Most people only want the syllabus after they sign up for a course.

The syllabus is helpful as an outline of the course and speakers. The book list for each course is custom created for the area and will give many good materials. 

I’m so glad that you are a life-long learner. May your tribe increase!

Part-Time Pastor Ready to Burn Out

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m a church planter. We have a part-time pastor on our staff. Her husband makes a good living and we would love to pay her more. However, as a starter church, our budget is so, so tight. I can’t bring her to full-time status. She is already putting in more hours than we are paying her for and I fear that she may burn out. Thoughts?

DRF—The good news for you is that as a licensed, commissioned or ordained pastor, she is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and overtime pay. Since she has the title of “pastor,” I’m assuming that she is commissioned by your new governing board. If she is not licensed, commissioned or ordained, get on that asap!

The other piece of good news is that this pastor has “owned the church vision.” She is implementing it well and loves it. You want staff who “buy in” and will invest into the new church. That is a huge win!

The bad news is that she may burn out. This happens in churches everyday. Pastors are committed to Jesus, the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. They are so driven for spiritual impact that they often lack adequate time boundaries.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t you take the pastor and her husband to dinner. It is important to include the spouse in the discussion. Talk about the number of hours that she is working, the impact on her family and the fact that you sense that she may burn out. Discuss reasonable expectations for her role. Listen to her husband and his concerns. Ensure that she is taking at least one day in seven off, completely away from ministry issues. Shape the conversation as a pastoral care issue. You deeply care for her and her family. Plus, you want to retain her at the church.

If left unresolved, she may burn out and resign from the church. One Sunday she may not show up and never be seen again. By being proactive and framing a spiritual discussion with her, you can help prevent this.

Key Salaries in a Church

Saturday, May 5

Hey Fletch … Where should I email the compensation survey questionnaire I filled out for you?

DRF—XPastor has a Compensation Guide available for $49. You can get a $15 discount if you submit information using the provided spreadsheet. The XPastor survey is smaller than other online compensation data guides. But it gives, in table format, all the key positions in a church, like this:

1,400 in Worship 2014
Data
2018
Equivalent
Annual Budget $3,400,000 $3,693,488
Payroll Budget $1,420,000 $1,542,574
Benefits Budget $230,000 $249,854
Total Employees—36
Senior Pastor $125,500 $136,333
Executive Pastor $99,000 $107,546
Outreach Pastor $81,500 $88,535
Campus Pastor $72,000 $78,215
Small Groups Pastor $65,000 $70,611
Worship Pastor $60,000 $65,179
Business Administrator $53,500 $58,118
Children’s Pastor $52,000 $56,489
High School Pastor $45,500 $49,428
Facilities Director $42,000 $45,625
Jr. High Pastor $40,000 $43,453
Administrative Assistant $32,000 $34,762

Look for our 12 Regional Workshops on Smart Money for Church Salaries, coming the the fall of 2018.

Paying Teenagers at Church

Friday, May 4

Hey Fletch … Quick question for you. What is the best way to pay teenage minors who do occasional child care work for the church? 

DRF—Whether they are occasional or not, you need to follow federal and state regulations. If the church pays them, then you have liability for their work, so that’s one issue. As I recall, California allows minors to work, but need a permit. I researched and found this article from the California Department of Industrial Relations: Labor Commissioner’s Office will help. It lays out “Information on Minors and Employment.”  

The article says that: “Except in limited circumstances defined in law and summarized in the child labor law booklet, all minors under 18 years of age employed in the state of California must have a permit to work. Prior to permitting a minor to work, employers must possess a valid permit to employ and work. The permit to employ and work are issued on the same form.”

Make sure that you have a permit to hire minors. I don’t see any exemptions for churches here! Be careful, dot all your “i’s” and cross all your “t’s”. They will be tough on you if the regs aren’t followed! Talk to a labor relations professional or attorney as needed.

I would also strongly suggest that if you hire a minor, they should be paired with an adult. You do not want to have two minors supervise children or other youth.

Unclear Instructions to Administrative Assistant

Thursday, May 3

Hey Fletch … You are certified in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, so let me ask this. As the Senior Pastor, I have an assistant who is an ISTJ. He often says that my instructions are not clear. How can I give better direction?

DRF—In MBTI lingo, the ISTJ is a logical, quiet, hard working, duty fulfiller. At 16personalities.com they introduce the person:

The ISTJ personality type is thought to be the most abundant, making up around 13% of the population. Their defining characteristics of integrity, practical logic and tireless dedication to duty make ISTJs a vital core to many families, as well as organizations that uphold traditions, rules and standards, such as law offices, regulatory bodies and military. 

Remember that each person is unique, and yet people share characteristics. The characteristics of most ISTJs make them ideal for guarding traditions, standard operating procedures and following the rules. 

Your strengths are intuition and feelings-values. You are a vision caster and deeply in touch with values. Those are admired by the ISTJ, but not their primary language. Be as concrete and detail-driven as possible with your ISTJ assistant. Spell out what you want and when. Give this person significant work that is standardized, i.e. “every Monday do this, Tuesday I need that done, schedule these meetings every ten days.” ISTJs excel in standard operating procedure. 

Your tendency is to give more abstract directives. For example, you might say “We need a way to make visitors at home in our church.” In your preferred language, that is clear, but not to the ISTJ. What you need to say is, “please research five other churches, get the details and “how to’s” of their hospitality programs, prepare a 5 page report and we will talk about it next Wednesday.” 

By doing this you are speaking the language that the ISTJ understands. You are giving direction that works well with their personality. When you set the “tradition” of what needs to be done, the ISTJ can embody and fulfill your vision.

Hiring Church Staff

Friday, April 20, 2018

Hey Fletch … Here in Nigeria I have a question. I would like to know if there are templates on church staff recruitment decision making … like a decision grid.

DRF—I’m not sure that I would use the word ‘template,’ as each church is unique. You want to create a style, or template, that reflects who your church is. Yet, there are many common issues to hiring among churches. To address these common factors, I wrote an article that may help you: A Ten Step Process For Hiring Church Staff. 

Here are the 10 Steps: 1) Send your job description to multiple sources and receive resumes. 2) Respond to each applicant via email within a week. 3) Make an initial phone call to candidates who fit your description and profile. 4) Make a second call to those you are interested in. 5) Check references. 6) First “in person” interview. 7) Have the candidate put his/her thoughts on paper. 8) Second “in person” interview. 9) Bring the interview team together for a final call on the candidate. 10) The hiring lead makes the offer.

You should examine each of the ten steps and see how they fit your situation in Nigeria. Your local church polity and policy may come into play, such as who does the selection and who makes the final decision. I am not an expert on Nigerian culture or the structure of your church … but the principles can help you create a hiring template. 

God’s best to you across the ocean and thanks for writing.

Hurting Pastor in a Jungle of Chaos

Friday, April 6, 2018

Hey Fletch … You know, there’s a lot of material for counseling marriages. There is little out there that I’m aware of for counseling for pastors who take the shots and still have to lead. Managing the mental and emotional jungle when unforeseen chaos hits so close is something most of us have no category for.

DRF—I was thinking through your email and praying for you. Things like what you have described take a huge emotional toll on the pastor. Your board members may see something like this once in a blue moon. You, however, are preaching every week, doing counseling, working with staff … the spiritual weight is enormous.

Make sure that you get at least one day off in seven. God rested after six days of creation and so can you. Take care of your spiritual, physical and emotional health. Unplug. Turn off the smart phone and email after 9 pm. Ask other staff to handle after-hours pastoral emergencies. 

Get away from it all from time to time. The church can live without you while you recharge! Take a vacation or get away to a “pastoral retreat center.” Do an internet search to find a pastor’s retreat near you. I’ve heard great reports on many of these. Your church will love you more when you come back rested and ready for the ongoing challenge of pastoral ministry.

I’ll be praying for you.

I’m a Paid, Professional Christian

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Hey Fletch … I feel like I’m a paid, professional Christian. I work in a church as a pastor and it is feeling like a job. The joy is begging to fade away. Help!

DRF—You are a full-time, vocational Christian leader. Pastoral work can be grueling. Emails and texts come at all hours. Weekends can get eaten up in ministry activities. You are engaged in a spiritual battle of enormous proportions. Huge numbers of people rely on you for guidance, shepherding, leadership and care.

Here’s a suggestion. Find some areas where you can be “John or Jane Doe.” Have some fun in areas where you can be people who are not in your congregation. I like to do this with scuba diving. There is a tight camaraderie among scuba divers. You have to trust and really on your diving partner. Underwater, no one talks to me! I get to enjoy the great world that God created. After the dive, we talk about the recent dive and past dives.

You are paid to be a Christian leader but are not a professional Christian. Enjoy time with people who don’t see you in the church leadership role. It will help bring back “joie de vivre”—exuberant enjoyment of life.

Transition to Ministry after 30 Years in Government Service

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hey Fletch … Good morning! I am searching for a church that has leadership development as its culture and focus. I just finished a seminary degree in Virginia Beach, VA and am wanting to make a transition to full-time ministry. I have a 30+ year career in government and public service. I’m a little stuck…any advice? I’m willing to relocate for the right opportunity.

DRF—If I understand you correctly, you are looking for a full-time position in leadership development, right? With more than thirty years in government and public service, I am sure that you have plenty of experience in working with organizations and developing people.

There are three ways to find a ministry position. The first is through networking. Perhaps half of all ministry jobs come through the network of your contacts. Developing a solid network takes time. You may want to ask the leaders of your church and your seminary professors for contacts. Talk to those contacts and get secondary, then tertiary contacts. I knew one person who did a several week road trip, talking to his network and their networks. He had three job offers in a couple of months!

The second way of finding a church position is through online job boards. To help folks like you, XPastor has a listing of major job boards and we also have a list of open church leadership positions. Often these leads put you into direct contact with the churches themselves. Make sure that you have a great looking resume. Check out the XPastor page of great resumes for some examples. 

The third way to find a ministry position is through a search firm. Slingshot and Vanderbloemen are the largest firms that help folks find church positions. On the XPastor job boards page, you can find their web addresses. Follow their procedures for sending in your resume and getting connected to their staff. Let me ask Monty Kelso, President of Slingshot, to respond.

Response from Monty Kelso—David is spot on regarding your best options seeking church ministry employment. I would add that the area of ministry that you are pursuing is one of great importance. Everyone is talking about leadership development these days. However, I know that very few churches actually hire executive leadership for the specific focus of leadership development only. In fact, in the eleven years that Slingshot Group has existed, I don’t believe we have ever engaged in a search for this kind of role specifically. 

Even though leadership development is usually expected to be a responsibility of most every director or pastor position, it’s rarely at the top of their job description. And furthermore, few staff leaders have any extra time in their busy work weeks to develop leaders at all, let alone well. 

I wonder if a more hirable role for you to pursue would be something like a “chief of staff?” This is becoming an increasing need in the church. In this role you would be able to build and fuel a staff culture whereby developing leaders (paid and volunteer) becomes more than a good idea, but in fact, an actual reality.

One emerging model for larger churches wanting to build a leadership pipeline includes the building of a residency program. This is where young emerging (and talented) leaders come from all over the country for a one to two year practical ministry experience. The oversight of these young leaders by the church’s full time pastoral and director level staff results in higher level of proficiency in specified core competencies relevant to their lane of ministry. 

Google “church residency programs” to learn more. I wish you the best. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to register as a candidate, free of charge, on our website.

Ministry Jobs & ‘Seminary School’

Friday, March 23, 2018

Hey Fletch … Seems it is quite hard to find a job at a church unless you have gone to Seminary school. I live in Austin, Texas. Is there a certain website I should be viewing to find ministry jobs?

DRF—A Seminary education can open doors, but it’s not a golden key. More than half of all church jobs come through networking. I would suggest that you talk to five local pastors. Ask to meet each one individually for 30 minutes and get to know their church. See if there is an internship that might give you more experience to build a solid resume. Check back with them quarterly so they see your long-term interest.

You might consider an online degree. Check out the 30-hour online degrees at Dallas Theological Seminary. I teach there as an Adjunct Prof in the Doctor of Ministry program. If you want to meet for coffee sometime, I’m close to you. Let me have Scott Barfoot, Director, Doctor of Ministry Studies at Dallas Seminary.

Scott Barfoot—As you consider online seminary training and networking with pastors, ask about specific conferences related to your areas of ministry interest. For example, if you have an interest in serving as a executive pastor you might attend the XP-Seminar to learn more about leading in the church. 

A growing number of pastors and executive pastors hold secular degrees with little or no seminary education. Many feel called from the business and HR world to the local church. Others explore vocational ministry but God eventually confirms His call for them to remain in their secular work.

Depending on the Lord’s leading, networking, conferences, certifications and seminary education are some ways to build a bridge toward more effective ministry in your current workplace, or in bi-vocational and full-time vocational ministry.

Dallas Seminary can help equip you for ministry and we would love to have you learn with us.

Ministry Leads to Weight Gain

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hey Fletch … This one is rather personal. Your column is a safe place for me to ask it. I have been gaining weight. Often I am at breakfast and lunch meetings, then want to have quality time with my family at dinner. All I do is eat … and it is showing!

DRF—I hear you on this. Ministry makes good weight control harder for the reasons that you gave. John Reed, the former head of the D.Min. Department at Dallas Seminary once said, “I lost weight by not going back for seconds and limiting desserts.” Get an app for your phone and track everything that you eat for a month. By tracking the calories that you consume, it may motivate you to eat less.

Let me ask another question, are you exercising? Pastors are in a stress-filled environment. Exercise will reduce your stress and burn those calories. Get your heart rate above 100 beats per minute for 30 minutes a day—watch television while you exercise! Get a FitBit or Apple Watch as a tool to measure your exercise. You may want to talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program … do it today.

Four-Wall Discussions

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’ve heard you use the term “four wall discussions.” Could you define that for me?

DRF—I call certain meetings “four-wall discussions” to signify that what is said should stay in the four walls of the room. A profane equivalent is “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Here is what you do with a church team. Lay out the ground rules that every comment is fair game in the discussion. In a four-wall discussion, people can vent. They can share insecurities and pain. They can be ‘wrong’ on an issue. Team members can explore orthodox and unusual options. If you can’t do that with a trusted team, who can you talk with?

When someone crosses the line and harsh words are spoken, amends need to be made. Often after a meeting, I have seen team members go to another and bring gentle confrontation. At the next team meeting, the offender makes an apology—and the team is healthier. That is a four-wall discussion at work.

Nothing is final until the team hears the words, “decision made.” Then, everyone needs to support that decision.

We Had a Narcissist on Staff

Monday, February 19, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m on the other side of the international date line from you, but church issues are the same the world over. We had a Narcissist on our staff and ruined staff and congregational morale. Can you give advice on how we can heal?

DRF—I’m so sorry to hear of your trouble. One definition of a Narcissist is “a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. Narcissists think the world revolves around them.” Check out the Wikipedia page, especially the provocative painting of Narcissus by Caravaggio. As you now know, dealing with a Narcissist is a high challenge. The damage in your church will take many moons to heal. If you don’t know Ken Sande’s book, ‘The Peacemaker,’ it would make a good read.

To deal with the hurt and pain, you may need to lead a time of confession in your church. Ken gives 7 A’s of a Confession: Address everyone involved. Avoid if, but, and maybe. Admit specifically. Acknowledge the hurt. Accept the consequences. Alter your behavior. Ask for forgiveness.

Over time, you can instill a culture of peace, but it takes a great deal of work.

You Are Not a Pastor

February 7, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m a hurtin’ puppy in Oklahoma right now. Got my tail between my legs. A fellow pastor on staff came into my office and said, “You are not a Pastor. Pastors should do this and that, and you don’t do those things.” I know I should be tough and let it roll off, but it came from a guy on staff.

DRF—That’s a bummer on steroids. Part of the fall of humanity is that we see things through our own rose colored glasses. We want others to be just like us. What a boring world it would be if everyone was just like everyone else. There are three key words in the New Testament for church leaders: shepherd, overseer and elder. Your role has more of the overseer and elder, and his has a lot more shepherding. The New Testament doesn’t say one is better than the other, just different. Hang in there and let him see that you do function in all three roles, even if the majority of your work is as an overseer and elder. Spend some time with him. Serve him and see if perhaps he was speaking out of some personal pain.

Just Got Dissed in an Email

January 31, 2018

Hey David … This one is personal and hard to write. I just got an email that seems to say that I wasn’t on a project any longer. I’m totally shocked. I thought that I was the project leader and now they are bringing in another person. I’m pretty mad and hurt. Thoughts for me?

DRF—In reading your email, your Senior Pastor didn’t say much, just two lines. What he said was ambiguous. It all turns on one verb. The email was as clear as mud. I’d suggest not attributing motive or making an accusation. Why don’t you just reply with a simple question, such as, “Could you expand on your thoughts?”

Follow up—So, the Senior Pastor clarified his thoughts and his original email was poorly worded. Instead of ousting you, he was trying to laud your leadership. Email is tricky as the fingers sometimes type faster than the brain thinks. Here are take-away principles: Ask simple questions for clarification. Don’t assume motive. Don’t return fire with fire. Treat others as you want to be treated.

Creating a Ministry Description

January 27, 2018

Hey Doc … My Presiding Bishop is looking to create a role for someone to visit churches inside and outside our organization. This person would stand in for the Bishop when he is unable to be at events and conferences. Do you have any suggestions for a role description and title?

DRF—Sounds like a wonderful role for the right person. XPastor does not have a job description on file for such a role … my thoughts for creating it would be:

    1. Create a role description that has the scope of what you expect and empower the person to do.
    2. Have percentages of time for each of the major sections.
    3. Limit the role description to one page. Focus on strategic areas and don’t get bogged down in tactical details.
    4. Get lots of buy-in on the role from the Bishop and others on the team, so that everyone is on board with the scope and major aspects.

As for the name, I’d suggest a title that shows the representative nature of the role. Perhaps, Executive Liaison or Staff Officer for the Bishop. Let me know how you craft the role and the title you choose.

Staff Culture

January 25, 2018

Hey David … We are wanting to get a feel for how our staff is doing. What can you suggest? We want to understand how our staff feel and get a handle on our staff culture.

DRF—I’m coaching an XP who just did a survey with the Best Christian Workplaces Institute. They got plenty of useful data points from the survey. It was incredibly helpful for them. Take a look at their site and see if it is a fit for you. 

We just posted an article on XPastor from William Vanderbloemen on ‘Creating an Irresistible Workplace.’ That is a must read article, excerpted from his book, ‘Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace.’ William will be doing a workshop on ‘How To Establish Your Staff Values & Build A Winning Team Culture’ at the 2018 XP-Seminar in February. 

Finally, check out the free online Culture Conference that Generis & Vanderbloemen Search Group have produced.

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