By Doug Murren
Hiring a staff is a critical problem faced by churches across the country. Unfortunately for pastors, no one usually trains us in personnel management.
The average stay for a youth pastor is about one year; for senior pastors, it’s only three to four years. Yet studies show that a pastor’s period of greatest effectiveness generally begins in the fifth or sixth year of a pastorate.
Some reasons for the rapid turnover:
1. Financial pressures. Many churches don’t pay enough to keep staff members out of financial problems.
2. Wrong expectations. Those who go into ministry frequently underestimate the level of effort it will require.
S. Lack of adequate skills. Often we think a great heart automatically means success; but great hearts ensure success and longevity only when they’re joined with ability.
The ministry both attracts and produces more dysfunctional people than most other occupations. In many ways, we make it too easy to enter the ministry, failing to adequately screen and prepare people for the rigors they will face.
Here are some practical ideas we’ve come up with:
Motivational salary policies. Interns receive low pay but are given significant bonuses when they achieve permanent-staff status.
Credit checks. Financial problems cause stress. We’ve never seen a staff member who’s in financial distress become successful in ministry.
Psychological profiles for important positions. These can tell you a lot about a person’s work style and compatibility with other key members of your staff.
Loans for house purchases. Loans to those in vital positions can be offered by the church and then given as gifts over a five-year period. Such a policy helps prospective staff members to think long term when they come on board and inspires them to stick it out when the going gets tough.
Alertness to insecurity and codependency. Try to reduce the number of staff people who need above-average amounts of affirmation. The ministry will not offer that, and a person looking for it will inevitably drain other staff members. The best staff members have learned a certain degree of self-sufficiency and self-nurturance.
Team players. Pay attention to a person’s work style. Someone who wants to be a superstar probably is not what your staff needs.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY MINISTRIES TODAY, JULY 1995, PAGE 17. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.