Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

Category / Staffing

When a staff member makes the choice to resign, it can feel like a defeat of some kind, like something broke or a mistake was made. But sometimes transitions are a normal part of staff life.

Some transitions are very difficult. The kind when you need to “fire” someone, but those situations are rare and usually represent one of three things.

  1. You didn’t have the honest and tough conversations.
  2. One or more people were not willing to change.
  3. You waited too long to make corrections.

If we set the more extreme cases aside, we can see that transitions on your staff, while not necessarily routine, can be part of a healthy environment. This perspective is far better than keeping a staff member when it’s not working, just because no one is willing to be honest and make the tough decision.

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Nothing hurts the progress of your church more than a staff member sliding into an unhealthy disposition. The greater the influence this person has, the greater the potential for negative impact.

It’s easy for an outsider to armchair quarterback on Monday morning saying, “Yup, I saw that coming.” But the truth is, those of us in the heat of the game don’t always see it coming. If we did, we’d do something about it!

We always hire the best and brightest we can find. No one intentionally picks a loser, right? No one selects a non-contributor with a poor attitude. So what happens? What changes?

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The leaders on your team may be gifted and high capacity people, but no amount of talent can prevent teamwork poison from taking its toll. I’ve been asked many times, “Would you really let someone go for a bad attitude?” My response is always the same, “Would you really pay someone for a bad attitude?!”  Yes I would let them go. I’m not willing to pay anyone for a lousy attitude, I can get that for free!

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You know your mission, but are you clear in how you practice ministry? In order to become as effective as possible, it’s a good idea to think through how your church, with its culture, philosophy, personality and theology actually practices ministry. Then write those practices down and continually talk about them with your staff. (This is primarily a staff document. Your staff may be paid, volunteer or both.)

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