“At this point I have 12 full time and 7 part time pastoral ministry staff. I suppose, for a Catholic church, we have a mid to large size staff. For Evangelical churches our size we have an incredibly small staff. All of our part time positions could easily be full time ones, and some of our full timers could be two positions, even three or four in some instances. And then there are also unstaffed ministry roles currently. Besides that, as we mention in rebuilt we currently have no office support staff, beyond our accountant. Everything that is done is done by volunteers.
Anyway, we gathered our staff for a semi-annual planning day. This day is all about looking to the year ahead and what we’re planning (I’ll be blogging about that in my next post). But before we jumped into the planning we faced some problems.
As we prepare for this day every year we ask the question (among others) what are the roadblocks to our moving forward as a group. One answer came back as “staff issues,” as in problems.
Personally, I want everyone to be happy and productive, I don’t want staff issues in my staff. But, not everything is always as I want it. So we dug into the issue.
The basic problem, I believe, is growth. We have grown too fast, added a lot of staff too quickly and created systems and structures (to the extent we even have systems and structures) on the fly. At the same time, as noted, we do not have enough staff. All of these things will obviously create problems.
Another problem: Both Tom (my associate) and I are “project” people. We like to undertake a project, pour ourselves into it and then move on to the next one. We are not “process” people and we’re not really “relational” people either, and that can create problems, especially for the “process” and “relationship” people. These problems often manifest themselves as communication problems, where people are not properly consulted. Sometimes it means people don’t feel like they’re valued enough by the organization, or that the efforts of others are not in sync with their own.
Tom and I take full responsibility for all that (though some of it is inevitable in a fast growth situation). But, there are other issues that are out of my control. And, as I said at the end of the meeting, they largely fall under the rubric of gratitude and enthusiasm.
I learned about gratitude and enthusiasm from my mother. That’s how she lived her life. And at the time of her sudden and unexpected death a few years ago, I determined I would strive to live my life like that, in honor of her. And as I have, more and more I come to see them as a critical key, to life, to success, and even to “staff issues.”
We asked everyone to examine their hearts and see if they’re cultivating gratitude and enthusiasm for the amazing work God is doing at this parish. It’s key to good morale. We prayed about it and I asked them to hold onto the problem in prayer too. Tom had mugs printed with John 17.23 (“That all may be one.”) for people to keep on their desks, as a reminder to pray about this.
Gratitude and enthusiasm are incredibly important to our planning and are also critical to continued blessing. Over and over again in the Bible God removes his blessing when people are ungrateful or unenthusiastic for what he’s doing. He just finds some one else to bless.
Think about your gratitude and enthusiasm. And if you’re in church, on a church staff or part of any professional organization, consider how well your staff does on this one.
All the planning in the world won’t fix this problem. But prayer will.