Recently we thought it would be a good idea to try and visually communicate our church staff “map”. It was an attempt to try and describe how we’ve deployed staff across our 5 passions for our flock, and across our 3 Sunday meetings/congregations. Check it out here.
There’s still so much that isn’t described well in this org chart… lines of responsibility are kinda’ there (vertically), congregations are kinda’ there (via colour tags), many staff responsibilities are not represented (I’m waiting for staff to come and ask why their things isn’t on there! Sorry!), Staff type and time is kinda’ on there (but there’s so little difference between a senior staff and part-time staff – just looking at them).
Any other church org charts out there?
A staff team is made up of different perspectives, strengths and weaknesses. A good team member will be aware of their own weaknesses, and the other’s strengths. And this will lead to good fighting based on strong trust.
I will want to hear my staff team’s opinions on things I’m doing because I know my weaknesses, and I trust they are not out for their own glory, for their own portfolio or to make me look bad. I don’t have I agree with them, and I might still argue my case. But that’s exactly what should happen.
It’s really important that we separate disagreeing from devaluing. Being disagreed with does not mean that we’re being devalued.
Just because my boss doesn’t agree with me, that doesn’t mean he devalues me. Just because a husband decides against his wife’s advice that doesn’t mean he devalues her. In fact, the Father doesn’t even devalue the divine Son when, after the Son says “take this cup from me”, the father implicitly says “no”.
The issue is that disagreement is something we can see, but devaluing is something we can’t see because it happens inside people’s hearts. We can’t see whether other people are devaluing us or not. Therefore, we should never accuse someone of devaluing us, because there’s no way of proving it. You can ask them, but that’s all you can do.
If they say, “No way!! I totally value you. I just don’t agree with you on this point” then you have to take their word for it. That also means we should attempt to stop feeling devalued because that feeling isn’t based on anything real, we’ve just been disagreed with.
Eph 4 was the kicker for me. Here’s how it goes:
- Jesus gives certain people to the church; [“Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastor-teachers”] (Leaders)
- These people are meant to “equip Jesus’ people for works of service” (Training, Mentoring, Encouraging)
- So, Jesus gives leaders who train church members so that “the body of Christ may be built up”.
That all seems ok, until you consider 2 things.
First, what does he mean that an “Evangelist” should equip Jesus’ people for works of service? Shouldn’t an Evangelist be out, you know, evangelising? Well, it’s not that they can’t do that, it’s just that Eph 4 says if they are one of Jesus’ gifts to his church, their primary role is to equip others so they can serve (presumably then more people can be better evangelists).
Second, this doesn’t read like an exhaustive list of roles, does it? In fact, it starts very similar to 1Corinthians 12:28. And there are other similarities between Eph4 and 1Cor12. E.g. Jesus gives people certain strengths, Gifts are to be used for the common good of Jesus’ people.
So, your staff all have certain gifts that Jesus has given them, right? Your staff and leaders aren’t all carbon copies! Jesus has given them to your church with certain skills and abilities. Eph4 says that, as leaders, they are primarily there to use those gifts for the common good of the church.
So, how are your staff/leaders built by Jesus? How are they being freed up to equip the saints in their particular gifts?
If you have a team of staff you should assign them purposes not congregations. In other words; staff “team” = Purpose based model is usually best.
The reason for this is kinda simplistic, but it seems it needs to be spelt out. The fact is, if you already have a team of staff working in one or more congregations, they are already specialising in different areas of ministry. And they are already doing poorly in other areas of ministry. That’s ok because Jesus gave them gifts to serve the body in their own special way. They are, by the grace of God, particularly suited to helping the church be and do particular things.
Secondly, either you are a team working together, or you are a mother’s club getting together to talk about your respective children. Some church staff talk like they are part of a team, when they’re not; they just get together to talk about their respective congregations and then go their merry way.
You have to choose first and foremost; are you going to be a church staff team, or a gathering of church staff?
If you’re going to be a team, then leverage that to the best of your ability for the glory of God. Use one another’s strengths, give some people responsibly for some things and others responsibility for other things.
Great teams think highly of each other, trust each other, and are reluctant to jump on the bagging-out band-wagon when its aimed at their team mates. For example, even though I wasn’t the most liked guy on my rugby team (’cause I didn’t drink, do crack and sleep around), if I was ever threatened my team mates would come to my defence in a second (usually more overaggressive than required).
But, great teams don’t just put on a united front to the world. They also enter into real and deep conflict on the inside. Once the doors are closed and its just you and me, great teams take each other to task, they challenge, dispute, argue and fight for what they think is best.
And the key is keeping the right attitude in the right context.
If you start arguing with your rugby captain while he’s running with the ball towards the opposition, you’re an idiot. You put your issue aside and you be there for him no matter what. When you’re back in the locker room, and the other teams out of earshot, that’s when you have it out. And after you’ve had it out, you leave it there, in the locker room. You don’t bring it out again.
Then, if I know that you’re not going to attack me in public, well, then I’m all the more likely to trust you when you come to me with an issue in private.
My old IT boss use to say it like this… “X is X. If your partner tells the client X, it doesn’t matter whether you agree with X or not. X is X. You run with it, and change it later. Don’t undermine each other in front of the client. X is X.”
Sometimes, setting rules is really helpful. Call them guidelines or self-imposed limits if you don’t like the idea of rules. But the fact is we do it all the time anyway. For example, we have a staff rule that male staff members or not to be in a house alone with a member of the opposite sex (apart from their spouse, etc).
But if you only ever discuss the rule and never discuss the reason behind it, two things are likely to happen.
1) Your rule will become a boasting point. It will become a rule in the bad anti-gospel sense. It will become something you are tempted to boast in before God and say, “Look! I never did that thing (that I self-imposed on myself!)”
2) It will become a tradition rather than a culture. That is, people will break the spirit of the law, and think nothing of it (e.g. going for a half-day walk in the bush with no-one else around – really isn’t much different to being alone in a house together).
So, have rules (because they help people understand the reasons and they do stop stupid decisions), but always talk about the reasons that make up the rule.