Monday Morning Insights

Photo of Todd

    How Does Your Church Handle Staff Transitions?

    How Does Your Church Handle Staff Transitions?

    James McDonald shares how Harvest Bible Fellowship handles staff transitions... What can you learn from James today?

    What do you think?  Do you agree with what James said?

    I'm wondering two things this morning:

    1.  What was your best (or worst) transition, personally, in ministry?  Why was it the best (or worst)?

    2.  What was the best transition (or worst) in ministry that you've ever witnessed up close and personal?  What was it the best (or worst)?

    I'd love to hear your comments!



    if you want a Globally Recognized Avatar (the images next to your profile) get them here. Once you sign up, your picture will displayed on any website that supports gravitars.

    1. Frank Chiapperino on Mon, May 10, 2010

      Todd, I think James is totally on target.  I think that is why as churches grow larger the role of an Executive Pastor is so critical.  Not only do some of these issues become challenging for the church but in a mega church environment it also becomes challenging for the staff.

    2. Dave on Mon, May 10, 2010

      I appreciate what he said about “clearer and sooner.” I think he is wise to emphasize that wonderful people are not always a wonderful fit for this situation.

      I think the body of Christ in general needs to balance quicker terminations with more generous severance packages. The search processes of most churches are so drawn out that I have heard most pastors seeking placement (in the congregationalism tradition) often need to plan for an 18-24 month processess from resume to installation. And unemployment compensation is not available to most pastors.

      If we truly believe the servant of Christ is a wonderful person, with a wonderful skill set. Does the terminating church offer assistance in finding placement?

      My most painful transition was one where I had willingly resigned and found a new place of ministry, but I was facing a major surgery the day after my final day of employment. I was in severe pain (had to preach from a chair) but wanted to be there to bring healthy closure. After a reception and saying good bye with a lot of tears from supportive members, the chairman watched me put a few last items from my desk in a box then ASKED FOR MY KEY to the church. I had no reason to keep the key, I was honestly distracted by the emotion of the day. But the fact that he asked for it sticks in my mind to highlight the distrust he had for me personally.

    3. Dee Lauderdale on Mon, May 10, 2010

      When I was serving as an executive pastor and a staff person was going to be terminated, I reminded the Senior Pastor to let me be the boss so he could be the person’s pastor.

      I also think Andy Stanley says it really well, hire slowly, fire quickly or long hellos and short good-byes.

    4. adam mclane on Mon, May 10, 2010

      I really appreciate the grace James extends in this post. I like how he says that not every good person is a good fit for this role. The same is true from the other side. Not ever church is a good fit for each individual. Sometimes you just end up in a situation you don’t want to be in! There are times when church staff get it, that a church job is a job… but it’s so hard to balance that with people in the pews who would like to think that God brought you to a place for an eternity.

      Good words from a wise man.

    5. Mark on Mon, May 10, 2010

      Oh my God!!!

      Did that guy just admit that he would love to have a staff to fire people so he didn’t have to look like the bad guy in front of his congregation?

      I can’t believe he said that!!!

    6. Fred on Mon, May 10, 2010

      I really believe that the pastor should not be the employer. Hiring and firing should be a church body decision.
      If the pastor can just fire a staff member then not one of them will be able to speak out if something is going wrong. There will be no one for them to turn to. And an atmosphere will be created where the staff will all compete to suck-up to the “boss.”

    7. Christopher White on Wed, May 12, 2010

      While I appreciate the sentiment, I believe the pastor is really just proposing dumping off the dirty work on a subordinate.  I can’t help but think a half-way intelligent church congregation wouldn’t figure that out anyway, and so it leaves the impression that he is there for the easy decisions, but anything that is messy he leaves for a hatchet man.  This is what Presidents and CEO’s do, I would expect a SP to not shield himself so much.

    8. adam mclane on Wed, May 12, 2010

      I think some of you are thinking about this from a smaller organizational structure. In a bigger church, you really can have an exec pastor or an HR person. It’s not so much “doing the dirty work” as it is… when your church has a hundred staff members it isn’t the leaders job to do absolutely everything.

      I don’t agree with everything that James does/says… but I can certainly appreciate his heart on this one.

    9. Page 1 of 1 pages

      Post a Comment

    10. (will not be published)

      Remember my personal information

      Notify me of follow-up comments?