11 Commands for Leaders
By Bob Russell
The differences between membership and leadership at a church are significant and important. It is an incredible privilege to be on staff at a church; however such privilege brings with it awesome responsibility.
As a leader, you are called to be a bold and effective witness for Jesus Christ.
This requires you to share your faith and to model mature Christian behaviors and attitudes.
1. Lead a life of moral purity in all that you say and do.
“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”
(Ephesians 4:1 NIV)
It is critically important for you to maintain moral purity and to avoid even the appearance of evil or transgression. As a staff member, you are expected to comply with the following guidelines:
* Do not eat at a restaurant or travel alone with a member of opposite sex; a third party must be present.
* Do not ride unaccompanied in a car with a member of the opposite sex.
* Do not counsel repeatedly with members of the opposite sex.
* Avoid intimate subjects with members of the opposite sex.
* Avoid inappropriate or intimate physical contact with members of the opposite sex.
* If counseling after hours or on weekends with a member of the opposite sex, make sure other staff members are in the area and accessible.
Your ministry depends on your reputation. Failure in the area of moral purity will lead to your immediate dismissal. The church will minister to you, but you will be asked to step down from leadership and staff.
2. Practice fiscal responsibility in church matters and with church funds.
“Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.” (Ephesians 5:15 NIV)
The church staff has earned a high degree of trust from the congregation and elders over time. This reputation could be damaged in an instant. Ministry staff and other managers must avoid the “use it or lose it” mentality with department and ministry funds and budgets. Church funds must be spent wisely and cautiously, and you should be at least as frugal with church funds as with your own money.
Travel expenses for hotel, air, food, and other expenses must be wisely spent. There are very few times when meals or other expenses for others should be paid (though you should be a generous tipper to those who offer services). Remember that perception is just as important as reality, especially in this area.
3. Give an honest day’s work.
The leadership style of the church is “high trust.” You should come to work on time, be as accessible and responsive as possible, and keep commitments made to members and to others. Phones should be answered promptly and voice mail used effectively (not hidden behind). Return phone calls promptly and be responsive to members and others.
You should strive to improve upon every activity you perform. Strive for excellence in customer service to church members and guests by providing friendship and by maintaining good first impressions.
Your reputation is in large part determined by your work ethic. People on staff and in the church do watch you, and they will think less of you if you are not in your office or are not responsive.
You should strive to work hard while you are here. Be in by 9 a.m. at the latest, unless your schedule demands other hours.
Full-time workers are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours per week. This does not include outside commitments, worship time, small group time, etc., because people in the church do these things, even if they have other jobs. You should also volunteer in an area outside of your own ministry, as all church members are encouraged to do this.
4. Be flexible and open to change.
You are a part of a team. Your work must be planned and implemented in cooperation with each church department. Sometimes that means “swallowing your pride” or giving up on a pet project if your agenda is not important to others at that point in time. The overall ministry plan embraced by church leadership must take precedence over your own goals and desires. Realize the danger in just having activities instead of meaningful goals and results.
As a big and growing church, we must realize that change is a part of the routine, and that change is normal. Challenge yourself to accept this change as positive, and do not stagnate or get too accustomed to a routine. Don’t settle for “just good enough” – strive for excellence and the very best!
5. Be a positive participant of the church.
Strive to understand the church’s doctrine and philosophy, and commit to supporting the church’s primary belief in the Bible. You should support the church’s goals, style, and approaches, and be positive about the church’s identity. In an era when people of the world–and some in the church–have become negative and cynical, it is important that you remain positive and supportive. Don’t spread gloom; remember your calling and be true to it. Be a cheerleader for the church.
Participate in the major activities of the church and church life.
Regular attendance at weekly worship services, an adult Bible fellowship class and/or small group, and weekday services is expected. You should also make every effort to participate in the major programs of the church (short-term mission trips, Pageant activities, etc.). Tithe or work toward tithing, and give a portion of your time to worship, fellowship, edification, and service.
Be careful with information.
As a staff member, you will have access to some information that others do not have. Be careful with whom and how that information is shared. Some will assume you know more than you do. Avoid the perception that you know more than others in a prideful or secretive kind of way. At the same time, we all must be very wise and cautious about sharing information of a confidential, personal, financial, or other sensitive nature with those who do not have a need to know.
6. Make every effort to get along with others on staff.
“Be diligent to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3 NIV)
Understanding brings appreciation. You should do your best learn about others on staff and what they do. Harmony is critically important in any organization, but especially for a church staff.
Getting along with others also means avoiding gossip. Gossip is a sure way to destroy harmony on our staff You should have reasonable expectations of others on staff and not have a legalistic or perfectionist approach in your dealings with others. Apply a measure of grace in your interactions with others on staff and with volunteers.
7. Be supportive of your supervisor and leaders.
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Hebrews 13:17 NIV)
You have an opportunity to affirm and pray for the leadership of the church. In addition, you should support and pray for the elders and deacons, and serve in biblical submission to the board of elders. You should support Bob Russell as the Senior Minister of our congregation. You should also support and help the supervisor in your department.
Also be supportive and encouraging to the worship staff and preaching team; they need our prayers, effort, support and positive spirit. Just as Aaron held up the arms of Moses, you need to help pray for and “hold up” church leaders.
8. Be a humble servant, not an arrogant prima donna.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2 NTV)
Serve gladly with a humble spirit, doing what God has asked you to do. As a staff member, you should be the example and not the exception. You may be a talented individual, but remember that being part of a large staff makes you look better than you really are. Strive to be humble in all that you say and do.
Do what God has called you to do; if it is of him, he will exalt you in his time. When this happens, be humble and serve the congregation and others with grace. Take delight in serving people with grace.
Be the example, not the exception.
You can demonstrate humble service in two important areas. The first is care for the facility – pick up and straighten up and take pride in the facility the Lord has provided. It is not just the job of the facility staff to maintain the cleanliness and appearance of the church building.
The second is friendliness – be helpful and friendly to other staff members and to visitors to our church. As a staff member, you can be an example for the whole congregation in friendliness. Always do your best to keep a big church small.
9. Be content with your pay.
You will be paid fairly in comparison to other members of the staff in similar positions. Many staff members could make more working elsewhere, but the Lord has called you here and you should remember that calling.
If you cannot do this over time, or if your personal finances cannot be adjusted so that this is not a constant struggle, then it may be time to seek employment elsewhere.
10. Give your family proper attention.
You should be a bold and effective witness for Jesus Christ by sharing your faith and by modeling mature Christian behavior and attitude, especially with your family. With your family, you should:
Remain enthusiastic and positive at home, and be supportive of the church
Give your children priority
Love your spouse
11. Never lose the wonder of serving Christ.
“Be fervent in spirit in serving our Lord.” (Romans 12:11 NIV)
You have been called by an awesome God to minister in a very special place. Remember this blessing and walk each day in wonder and awe, maintaining your zeal for serving the Lord at this church. Keep honoring Jesus Christ in all you do and give him the glory.
By Bob Russell