Church staff members have the potential to be a vitally important part of any church, adding value and quality to the ministry.
However, they also carry with them the potential to become a weight or burden to a church. Especially if they are not producing and growing both themselves and the ministry they oversee.
Every person who serves in full-time ministry, as pastor or staff, must constantly be striving to lead better by becoming better, and grow their ministry by first growing themselves. I’ve been privileged to work under two senior pastors who have done this exceptionally well through example, and encouraged their staff to do the same.
If you serve in a staff capacity where you are being paid by the tithes and offerings of the generous people of your church, here are four thought-provoking questions to consider (I’m sure there could be many more) to help evaluate if you’re being fair to your pastor and your ministry?
1. What is the last book I’ve read specific to my ministry or growth development?
(Maybe for some, the question would suffice, “What is the last book I’ve read?”) Whatever area of ministry you’ve been called to serve in, most likely its because you have a passion for that area of ministry. What are you currently reading to increase your knowledge of and passion for the things God has gifted you to do and placed closest to your heart?
Are you a better and more knowledgeable worship leader, children’s or youth pastor, assistant pastor, etc. than you were a year ago… 5 years ago? Consider this… if the average book consists of 10-15 chapters, and you dedicate yourself to reading just one chapter a day, you could easily read two new books per month.
While the number of books you read or don’t read certainly isn’t a ‘tell all’ of your success or failure towards your pastor and your ministry, it can certainly can be something worth evaluating. Harry Truman once wisely said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” The truth is that God has called us to excel in our ministries. Reading and it’s many benefits can undeniably help accomplish that.
2. Am I personally growing as a leader?
The greatest asset your ministry has to become successful is you, because you are the cap to your ministry’s growth. Your ministry or organization will rarely ever grow or develop beyond your own personal growth and development as a leader. The more you grow and the better you become, the more your ministry or organization will benefit.
So what are you intentionally doing to grow in your leadership skills? Are you attending any conferences, listening to any podcasts, following any thought leaders in your specific field? Are you being teachable by allowing your senior pastor or others to “grow” you in any area that they see room for improvement?
There’s never a time when we’re stagnant, and just staying in the same place. We are always moving either forward or backward as a leader, and our ministry is following right behind us.
3. Who have I personally reached (or am in the process of reaching) and seeing added to my church?
Is there anyone in your church who is there because of you? Are you being a soul-winner, a pursuer of people, an encourager, and hospitable towards the people you lead?
It’s easy in the ministry to let “paperwork” trump “people-work”, and become more focused on the “what” of the ministry rather than the “who” of the ministry. But we must remember that what we’ve ultimately been called to do is make an eternal difference in the lives of people, including the lost. I personally have to keep myself in check on this one the most.
4. Am I making my pastor’s job easier or harder?
One of the purposes of church staff is to relieve the burden of the pastor in general as well as in specific areas of ministry. This doesn’t mean that the pastor doesn’t get involved or doesn’t care about other ministries, but he shouldn’t have to carry the weight of those ministries on a regular basis.
Protect your pastor’s time by doing the things he has hired you to do. Take initiative to lead and make decisions for your areas of ministry. While a good pastor certainly cares about you and your ministry, and will do whatever he can to help when possible, a good rule of thumb is to remember that you work for him, and not the other way around. (For more thoughts on this, read 5 Essentials to Becoming a Star Staff Member)
While there are certainly many more things that could be added to this list, may these few cause us to do some self-evaluation. May we never be guilty of being full-time staff members, but only part-time Christians.
May we strive only for excellence and progress in all that we do, as would be expected of us in any other career or field. Because our pastor, our church, and our God deserve it. And may we never take lightly the calling of God upon our lives to minister. But may we do it by following the example of the greatest minister Himself, Jesus Christ.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.
Do you have some additional ways that you evaluate yourself to become better as a leader? I’d love to hear them and learn from you!