Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

Leadership Pipeline

Friday, April 30th, 2010

While in a seminary leadership class I read a great book on leadership by Ram Charan et. al.; The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company. The book discusses why corporation often fail to develop leaders in their organizations. The root problem, Charan proposes, is that the organization does not think about the skills and training necessary to develop a leader in their organization. Rather than preparing and promoting the best leaders they promote the best performers who often are not the best leaders. For instance, the best salesman in the organization may be great at sales but mat never be a good sales manager.

The book proposes that to develop leaders in an organization the organization needs to first identify the skills and abilities necessary for the next level of leadership. Then they can train to and promote to those skills and abilities.

I think this is true in the church world as well. It seems that those who are the best communicators or have the best stage presence are pushed into leadership in the church, whether they are good leaders or not. I think we have failed to identify the skills and abilities necessary to lead in the church. We, therefore, train and promote communication ability and neglect other necessary skills and abilities.
We need to identify the skills and abilities necessary to lead and start training to and promoting to those. Below I’ve started a list of skills and abilities that I think are necessary for leadership in the church. What would you add or subtract and why?

Communication (While I think this one is over-emphasized I don’t think it should be left out.)
Team Building
Project Planning
Delegation
Time Management
Supervision
Task Evaluation
Leadership Evaluation

To Hire or Not To Hire (Part 2)

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

In the previous post we talked about the questions churches should ask when deciding whether a position should be paid staff or volunteer. The overarching principle I proposed is that the staff should be responsible for equipping the church for ministry. If we follow that perspective then our default decision should be to allow volunteers to serve in every position.

There are two situations in which paid staff should be put in place rather than volunteers. The first is in positions that require special skills or education that are unreasonable to expect from a volunteer. The primary example of this would be the primary pastor of the church. Whether you call that individual the Senior Pastor, Lead Pastor, Teaching Pastor, or other name the role is the same. The person filling that role needs to have both the theological training and leadership training necessary to lead the church. (Yes, I know there are biblical reasons for having a paid Pastor but that’s for a different post.) Another example would be someone overseeing the technical arts in a church with a high production level. Not everyone serving in the technical arts should be paid staff, but someone needs the skill to train and oversee this area of ministry that requires a very specific skill set. In a church with a large auditorium or sanctuary that has a high production level the leader of this ministry should be paid staff with the requisite education and experience.

There are other positions in the church that should be paid staff as well but remember this should be the exception rather than the rule. What other positions can you think of that require paid staff because of the lever of education and experience necessary to fulfill the role?

To Hire or not To Hire

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

In the past 13 years, I’ve had the privilege of serving in both volunteer and staff leadership positions in churches and parachurch organizations. It’s interesting to me how haphazard many churches are with regards to identifying which jobs are volunteer positions and which jobs are staff positions.

The problem seems to be that the decisions are driven by pragmatism rather than vision. Pragmatism works well for short-term decisions. The decision to fill a position with staff or volunteers is a strategic decision that has far reaching consequences. Leadership teams, therefore, need to have a firm vision of the difference between staff roles and volunteer roles in the structure of the church.
It is important to remember that it is not the staff’s responsibility to do the ministry of the church. It is the whole church’s responsibility to do the ministry of the church. The staff is responsible to equip the church for ministry.

When making staffing decisions the questions that are often asked are:
(1) Can we afford to hire this position? (Do we have the money?)
(2) Can we afford no to hire this position? (Do we trust a volunteer to do it?)

These are pragmatic questions. They do not focus on vision. Better questions to ask are:
(1) Does this position require special skills that it is unreasonable to expect a volunteer to have?
(2) Are the expectations of this position unreasonable to expect from a volunteer?

I’ll unpack these questions in future posts and explain why I think they fit the vision/strategy category rather than being merely pragmatic. I’d love to hear from you though. What questions do you think should be asked in determining whether a position is a staff or volunteer position?